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IMPLICATIONS OF THIS RESEARCH

For Academics

This research has four main implications for academics. First, it is important for theory development because it is the another step in an effort to link resource related behavior, task-specific self-efficacy, to the entrepreneurial orientation of the firm manager (Brown, 1996; Brown & Kirchhoff, 1997). Second, this research extends Covin and Slevin's (1991) conceptualization of firm-level entrepreneurial orientation. While other external and internal antecedents of entrepreneurial orientation have been examined, this is the first time that the perception of resource availability has been examined in this manner. Third, much of entrepreneurial research focuses on the start-up decision and start-up phase. In addition, much of the entrepreneurial research that has begun to look at the concept of self-efficacy has also looked at the decision to start a business (e.g., Chen, Greene & Crick, 1995; Englebrecht, 1995).This current research focused on the growth rate of the established firms, which should answer Davidsson's (1991:706) call for research on what he called "continued entrepreneurship". Finally, Kirchhoff (1994) noted that resource constraints are a major factor inhibiting small firm growth and that many small firms are constrained by the attitude of the owner. This research shows that the small business owner's perception of resource availability may be one of those "attitudes" that constrain or facilitate entrepreneurial orientation and subsequent growth.

For Public Policy

Although the findings of this study are not yet ready to be used in the public arena, this research still has some implications for public policy. Any tool that can be used to promote formation and growth of new firms requires further investigation. If the resource acquisition self-efficacy measure can be shown to influence entrepreneurial orientation, then individuals can be taught skills to raise their level of self-efficacy. This would lead to a greater degree of entrepreneurial activity, which would subsequently lead to higher rates of firm growth. This is important to the economy, because growing firms are more likely to survive and provide jobs. Furthermore, if resource acquisition self-efficacy can be shown to be positively associated with the perceived opportunity set, then small business owners with self-efficacy training may begin to see more opportunities and start and grow more small businesses.

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