Self-Efficacy in Disrupted Environments: COVID-19 as a Natural Experiment

Carsten Bergenholtz*, Kim Klyver, Oana Vuculescu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In two studies, we investigate whether the link between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intentions depends on outcome expectations. In Study 1, we exploit the COVID-19-induced lockdown as a natural experiment in a two-wave student sample. We compare the efficacy–intention link in survey responses submitted right before and right after the lockdown. In Study 2, we conceptually replicate and extend the findings via an online vignette experiment. Together, these studies show that a disruption of stable institutionalized outcome expectations implying increasing risk and uncertainty makes self-efficacy a weaker predictor of entrepreneurial intentions, particularly among those with pessimistic perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22. Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Covid-19
  • disrupted environment
  • efficacy expectation
  • entrepreneurial intention
  • Entrepreneurship
  • self-efficacy
  • uncertainty


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