A hubris theory of entrepreneurship suggests that financial forecasts are often informed by the use of heuristic methods prone to overconfidence. While overconfidence can be advantageous during the start-up phase, it is also linked to overoptimistic forecasts, non-optimal outcomes and firm failure. This article uses a data set from 203 micro and small firms operating in North West Italy where overconfidence is measured as the difference between budget estimates and actual results for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), owner equity and borrowing costs. These measures are employed to identify the extent of overconfidence by entrepreneurs in their financial forecasts and to analyse any relationship between overconfidence and the characteristics of the entrepreneur and the firm. A probit analysis is employed to investigate any association between overconfident financial forecasts and subsequent firm failure. The results are consistent with the hypotheses, suggesting that the majority of entrepreneurs are prone to overconfident budgetary forecasts that are directly associated with firm failure. Such overconfidence is mitigated by an entrepreneur’s level of educational attainment and the use of budgetary controls.
This article advances the debate on entrepreneurial exit by shedding new light on the role of the entrepreneurial team (ET) in the exit process. We analyse how ET characteristics influence a founder choice to exit by selling shares to an external buyer versus selling to another team member. Our main argument being that ET characteristics indicate the level of team cohesion. In cohesive ETs, members are resistant to the entry of newcomers; thus, they attempt to induce exiting founders to sell their shares to other team members. Accordingly, we formulate hypotheses on how three indicators of ET cohesion (team size, heterogeneity and the presence of family ties within the ET) affect the probability that a founder will exit by selling her shares to an external buyer rather than another ET member. The hypotheses are tested through econometric estimates using data on 986 founders of 365 Italian high-tech entrepreneurial ventures.
This article assesses recent developments in the research and practice of migrant entrepreneurship by examining the powerful contribution that the perspective of ‘mixed embeddedness’ has provided to this field. We identify key themes emerging from mixed embeddedness, particularly in relation to the role of the institutional and market contexts, and highlight areas that could strengthen the perspective, such as (1) the role of regulation, (2) the incorporation of racist exclusion and (3) gendered structures of migration and labour market processes, (4) market ghettoisation and (5) greater sensitivity to historical context. We also consider the extent to which growing interest among practitioners in supporting migrant enterprise has been influenced by developments in the academic domain.
Previous research has explored the difficulties daughters experience entering family business management, but few studies have focused on their experiences of succession. Previously, a gender-as-a-variable perspective has been widely adopted such that the gendering of succession remains understudied. This article addresses this gap by conducting a gendered analysis of how daughters navigate family businesses and construct identities as family business leaders. Using narrative analysis and case study research, our findings suggest that daughters construct and negotiate their gender and leadership identities in their interactions with others by opposing, expanding and making use of the gendered scripts available to them. They move between concealing their leader identity and producing a masculinised identity as a strong owner. This necessitates tempered disruption and switching between different identities in different contexts. We conclude by discussing the theoretical aspects of a gendered perspective as they relate to identity construction in family businesses.
This research note aims to develop the emotional underpinning of early-stage entrepreneurship by examining the influence of anticipated regret, a negative emotion, on the transformation of latent entrepreneurs into nascent entrepreneurs. Drawing on regret regulation theory and two waves of survey data, the analysis demonstrates that anticipated regret manifests as a, feeling for doing, by pushing latent entrepreneurs towards engaging in business start-up behaviour. We conclude that negative emotions exert an important influence on behavioural regulation in early-stage entrepreneurship, fostering the transition from latent to nascent entrepreneurship.
This article examines the effect of employment protection legislation (EPL) on small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance. Rather than relying on country-specific proxies for EPL, as is common in the literature, we compute firm-specific measures of a firm’s exposure to EPL by using a panel dataset of 13,112 Belgian SMEs for the period between 2000 and 2009. The empirical results show that firms perform better when faced with lower hiring and firing costs through the use of more blue-collar labour contracts. The evidence showing improved performance by firms that attempt to achieve greater flexibility by hiring more temporary workers is limited.
This article explores the activities involved in embedding a small firm in its industrial context. Inductive analysis of longitudinal, case study data collected from a small firm in the creative industries highlights the use of networks and networking as embedding mechanisms. Key emergent themes include the impacts of pre-embeddedness (defined as the sum of all cultural, social and symbolic capital accessible to the founding team prior to business start-up), the vision and network orientation of the founding team and their strategic use of networking. The interplay between these conditions and activities is revealed as important in building legitimacy, which is critical for embedding a firm in its industrial context. This article extends knowledge of embedding beyond the initial phase of new venture creation and highlights the emergent and evolving dynamics behind this process.
This article explores knowledge search strategies of technology-based small firms (TBSFs) and the role that informal and proximate relationships play in the development of knowledge networks, through which knowledge exchange occurs. Drawing on interfirm relationship and social network theory, we contend that TBSFs participate in informal networks to exchange technology, market and managerial knowledge, to the extent that these knowledge configurations facilitate acquisition of external knowledge critical for their learning processes by TBSFs. Results indicate that a firm’s engagement in the exchange of various sources of knowledge is directly related to its economic activity and strategic knowledge priorities, which shape the structural dimensions of interfirm informal networks. While informal networks remain informal, certain TBSFs formalize their participation as they obtain and combine knowledge resources that are important for their activity. In examining how different interests and roles impact participation in informal interfirm networks, this study contributes to the literature on small firms and collaborative relationships.
This article examines the impact of open innovation (OI) practices on the innovation activity of low-tech small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Different external knowledge sources are considered, and the ability of SMEs to acquire and integrate external knowledge into their organizational boundaries for innovation purposes is assessed. The research draws on a sample of 191 Italian winemakers. The results show that SMEs with higher propensity to access and use external knowledge sources show a greater ability to innovate and that their absorptive capacity impacts the use of external sources. Several implications for theory and practice are drawn, underlining a number of suggestions for future research.
Building on the complementarity of the revisited Uppsala model and effectual logic, this article examines the role of affective and cognitive trust for developing knowledge in the context of small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) internationalization in emerging markets. Drawing on qualitative interview data from New Zealand SMEs engaging with Chinese business partners, the article first shows that an overreliance on affective trust can result in a situation of ‘persistent mediation’, in which learning about opportunities is impaired. Second, utilization of the affordable loss principle and a focus on control facilitates relationship-specific knowledge, which may also lead to cognitive trust. However, cognitive trust does not necessarily transform in the substantive business market knowledge needed to overcome the liability of outsidership. Third, business market knowledge is advanced when partners mutually set goals and develop the opportunity, which potentially also fosters cognitive and affective trust.
This is an empirical study of the origin, demographics and fate of two cohorts of high-growth firms in New Zealand. Customised data on high-growth firms, covering 1125 and 1067 firms in the 2005 and 2008 cohorts, respectively, came from government sources. High-growth firms are smaller, more likely to emerge in service industries and grow through the creation of multiple separate establishments. The ability to sustain high-growth is independent of pre-growth age and employment size. High-growth firms have death rates up to four times greater than other contemporary firms, but the survivors do retain their employment size, continuing to contribute disproportionately to employment for some years beyond their initial high-growth phase. The demonstrated inability of high-growth firms to sustain high growth suggests a rethink on how ‘high growth’ is defined, with future research focusing on sustained growth firms.
Adopting a social cognitive theory perspective, this article examines the factors that influence entrepreneurial intentions through the interaction between cognitive factors and perceived environmental munificence. Specifically, it introduces and demonstrates that the effect of one’s perceived ability to become an entrepreneur on the intention to engage in such a behaviour is contingent upon the perception of an environment rich in entrepreneurial munificence, in this case, within an incubator setting. Perceived entrepreneurial munificence also helps strengthen the relationship between risk-taking propensity and entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Results and implications for future research on entrepreneurial intentions at the interface between cognitive and environmental factors are discussed.
Religion cannot be ignored in assessing the range of cultural and institutional influences that impact on entrepreneurial activity. This article integrates key themes from sociology of religion in the context of emerging ideas about religion and entrepreneurship in order to highlight key research questions. New institutional theory is discussed as a potentially useful lens for viewing the range of means through which religious expression and institutions might support entrepreneurship. A macro-level empirical investigation of societal indicators of religious affiliation and regulation of religion alongside Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data highlights particular data correlations and mediating influences. A significant association between entrepreneurial activity and evangelical or Pentecostal Christian religious affiliation is found, along with evidence that the impact of religion on entrepreneurship is mediated through pluralism and regulation. In discussing these findings further, the article proposes a more integrated conceptual framework for understanding the link between religious drivers and entrepreneurship, alongside institutional mediation. This forms the basis for further research, focusing on individual experience rather than aggregate associations and exploring in further depth of the mediating impact of institutional arrangements.
Drawing upon data from the fifth UK Innovation Survey, this article sheds light on how management choices on the nature of appropriation relate to management choices on the degree of openness within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To this end, our findings indicate a threshold effect of both informal and formal appropriation mechanisms on the likelihood of engaging in both coupled and inbound open innovation. That is, an emphasis on appropriation appears to be important in shifting firms from a closed to an open strategy. There is, however, little evidence that either approach to appropriation increases the extent of open innovation. In this, only informal intellectual property (IP) protection mechanisms associate with an increasing extent of inbound open innovation.
This article examines how German women construct accounts of entrepreneurship as a gendered career. While becoming an entrepreneur was deemed preferable to not having a career, the interpretative repertoires emerging around entrepreneurial careers mainly referred to structural barriers. These included ‘anti-child anti-woman’ attitudes within German society or acceptance of the ‘male game’ due to gendered role expectations embedded within social institutions. Interpreted from a career perspective, the findings indicate that entrepreneurial careers do not meet women’s expectations as they are subject to the same gendered constraints as those faced in waged employment. The article contributes to boundaryless career theory by illustrating how, even within a country of high employment rates and talent shortage, Germany’s status as a conservative welfare state builds gender inequality into entrepreneurial women’s lives to constrain career choices.
This article has two objectives: to critique the dominant opportunity discovery and creation literatures and to propose a new, critical realist–inspired analytical framework to theorise the causes, processes and consequences of entrepreneurial action – one that needs no concept of opportunity. We offer three reasons to support our critique of opportunity studies. First, there are important absences, contradictions and inconsistencies in definitions of opportunity in theoretical and empirical work that mean the term cannot signal a clear direction for theorising or empirical research. Our central criticism is that the concept of opportunity cannot refer simultaneously, without contradiction, to a social context offering profit-making prospects, to particular practices and to agents’ subjective beliefs or imagined futures. Second, a new definition of opportunity would perpetuate the conceptual chaos. Third, useful concepts to capture important entrepreneurial processes are readily available, for instance, combining resources, creating new ventures and achieving product sales, which render a concept of opportunity superfluous. Instead, we conceptualise entrepreneurial action as investments in resources intended to create new goods and services for market exchange emergent from the interaction between agential, social-structural and cultural causal powers.
A major focus of research on business angels has examined their decision-making processes and investment criteria. As business angels reject most opportunities they receive, this article explores the reasons informing such decisions. In view of angel heterogeneity, investment opportunities might be expected to be rejected for differing reasons. Two sources of data are used to examine this issue. Face-to-face interviews with 30 business angels in Scotland and Northern Ireland provided information on typical ‘deal killers’. This was complemented by an Internet survey that attracted responses from 238 business angels from across the UK. The findings confirm that the main reason for rejection relates to the entrepreneur/management team. However, angel characteristics do not explain the number of reasons given for opportunity rejection nor do they predict the reasons for rejecting investment opportunities. This could be related to the increasing trend for business angels to join organised groups which, in turn, leads to the development of a shared repertoire of investment approaches. We therefore suggest the concept of ‘communities-of-practice’ as an explanation for this finding.
This article investigates the relationship between international entrepreneurial orientation (IEO) and international performance taking into account the moderating effects of politicization in internationalization decisions and international hostility. Using data from 208 Greek international small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we found that IEO is positively related to international performance. We also found that neither politicization nor international hostility separately has any moderating effects on this relationship. However, the findings support the view that the combination of high levels of politicization and international hostility critically diminishes the effects of IEO on international performance. These findings enrich the international entrepreneurship field that has been relatively devoid of investigations examining decision-specific aspects of the firm.
This article uses the matched employee–employer dataset from the Workplace Employment Relations Study of 2011 (WERS2011) in Britain to empirically examine the direct relationship between human resource management (HRM) practices and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance in the United Kingdom, as well as the potential moderating effect of organisational commitment/job satisfaction on the HRM-performance linkage. We find a positive and direct relationship between the use of certain formalised human resource (HR) practices and SME performance, measured by financial performance and labour productivity. More importantly, we find that the positive relationship between HR practices and financial performance varies between SMEs with high job satisfaction and low job satisfaction, and that the relationship is weakened in SMEs with high job satisfaction. The results suggest that certain HR policies and practices may improve small firm performance, especially within firms with low levels of commitment and satisfaction.
Barriers to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) participation in public procurement have been the focus of research for many years. Much less attention has been paid to the predictors of SME success. This article examines the role that tendering capabilities – relational and procedural – play in explaining SME activity and performance in public contract competitions. Analysis of primary survey data from 3010 SMEs supports a capability-based perspective. Procedural capability has a significant effect on number of tenders submitted and value of contract sought. Relational capability does not. However, procedural and relational capabilities have a significant and positive effect on contract win-ratio and percentage of total revenue derived from public contracts. For SMEs, these findings underline the importance of investing in tendering skills and devising buyer engagement strategies. Enterprise support agencies and public sector organisations can play their part through the provision of targeted training programmes and better communication with SME suppliers, respectively.
This article examines the relationship between work-related stressors and bullying and harassment in British small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Using representative data from a national survey on employment rights and experiences (Fair Treatment at Work), this research identifies that bullying and harassment are just as prevalent in British SMEs as in larger organisations. Drawing upon the Management Standards of the Health and Safety Executive, a number of significant relationships with bullying and harassment are established. Work demands placed upon employees are positively related to bullying and harassment behaviours, while autonomy, manager support, peer support and clarity of role are negatively associated with such behaviours. The study considers implications for human resource practices in SMEs, and the risks of informal attitudes to these work-related stressors in contemporary workplaces are discussed.
The business model (BM) – a representation of a venture’s core logic for creating value – is an emergent construct of interest in social entrepreneurship research. While the BM concept is normally associated with financial objectives, socio-entrepreneurial BMs are uniquely identifiable by their social value propositions, by their intended target markets and by the projected social change. Drawing from a longitudinal case study of a Colombian foundation, we outline the characteristics of socio-entrepreneurial BMs. We analyse the entrepreneurial process behind the implementation of a BM that draws on communitarian innovative solutions that benefit the excluded and, ultimately, society at large. Focusing on the question of how socio-entrepreneurial BMs progressively evolve to produce social change, we examine the BM of a successful socio-entrepreneurial venture that exhibits the conditions of social change. Our findings show that the social value proposition, the entrepreneur’s passion for social change and a community-based network are decisive factors.
This article examines a ‘deprived’ UK community to identify how (dis)connections between context and enterprise are produced within accounts of a particular locality. We used a discursive psychological approach to examine how the community depicted itself as a context for enterprise. Our analysis identified three discursive repertoires mobilised by a range of voices in the community which combined to portray an unenterprising community and create a conceptual deadlock for enterprise. We suggest it is too deterministic to assume context is fixed and controls the potential for entrepreneurial development. Instead, we should consider social practices, including talk, that help construct the contexts in which entrepreneurship is expected to occur.
In this article, we study the decision-making criteria that business angels (BAs) adopt when screening business opportunities in the different assessment phases (pre-screening, screening and due diligence). We exploit an original dataset of 1942 ventures that sought angel investment from 2008 to 2014 from the members of Italian Angels for Growth (IAG). Results have shown that the emphasis that BAs place on rejection criteria and contact channels varies along the three considered stages of the investment process. In particular, we found that business proposals brought to the attention of BAs by venture capitalists are more likely to get through the pre-screening stage, suggesting an important quality certification role played by venture capitalists. Moreover, at the screening stage (in comparison with the pre-screening stage), proposals are rejected more often for reasons related to the characteristics of the entrepreneur and management team and less often for the lack of business innovativeness. Finally, business proposals showing lower levels of profitability are more likely to be rejected after the due diligence.
This article examines two contrasting interpretations of how bank market concentration (Market Power Hypothesis) and banking relationships (Information Hypothesis) affect three sources of small firm liquidity (cash, lines of credit, and trade credit). Supportive of a market power interpretation, we find that in a highly concentrated banking market, small firms hold less cash, have less access to lines of credit, and are more likely to be financially constrained, use greater amounts of more expensive trade credit, and face higher penalties for trade credit late payment. We also find support for the information hypothesis: relationship banking improves small business liquidity, particularly in a concentrated banking market, thereby mitigating the adverse effects of bank market concentration derived from market power. Our results are robust to different cash, lines of credit, and trade credit measures and to alternative empirical approaches.
This article provides a new model of tax compliance over the firm life course, focusing on the dynamics in the underlying motivations and capacities for tax compliance. We review and structure the relevant literature on the early life course of firms: the traditional stages of growth models and a less deterministic dynamic state model of developmental phases. Building on these insights on the changing nature of the firm and the role of the founder-entrepreneur, we construct a new model of tax compliance over the firm life course. We provide several potential avenues for future research as well as practical implications of our model.
This article advances a novel conceptualization of digital technology and its relationship with small and medium enterprise (SME) business practice. Focusing on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), I expose salient ontological assumptions that guide the dominant models of technology in SME research and calls for their reassessment. Building on the emergent scholarship on technology-in-practice and emphasizing the entanglement and situatedness of technology use, I advance a fresh approach to theorizing and researching the ICT-SME practice nexus. Extending the technology-in-practice perspective into the SME domain, new directions are suggested for ICT scholarship and implications outlined for research, policy, and business practice.
This article explores links between entrepreneurship education (EE) participation, alertness and risk-taking skills and the intensity of entrepreneurial intention relating to becoming an entrepreneur. Guided by insights from human capital and socially learned stereotypes theories, we conceptualize and test novel hypotheses that consider the potential moderating effect of gender and participation in EE. Business students participating in EE modules were compared with engineering students excluded from such programmes. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that EE students reported high intensity of intention; however, EE did not generate equal benefits for all students. Women were significantly less likely to report high intensity of intention; however, those citing the alertness skill were more likely to report high intensity of intention than non-EE women students. Both male EE and non-EE students citing the risk perception skill reported higher intention, whereas women EE students citing the risk perception skill reported lower intention.
This article contributes to the research exploring the social and economic factors shaping the performance of immigrant-run firms. Drawing upon human and social capital theory and assimilation theory, we investigate differences in performance measured as revenue growth in a comparative study of native and immigrant CEOs. Following 50,002 small firms in Sweden over 4 years, we find distinct patterns in both firm size and revenue growth between firms managed by immigrants and by natives. While firms run by second-generation immigrants from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries exhibit higher growth rates than natives, the reverse is true for second-generation immigrants from non-OECD countries, suggesting that economic integration in terms of small business growth immigrants in Sweden is characterized by segmented rather than universal assimilation.
This article tests a model of entrepreneurial career choice in university students based upon Social Cognitive Career Theory. In particular, we hypothesize that entrepreneurial interests affect career choice and that perceived self-efficacy is related to outcome expectations and both constructs affect interests and career choice. Additionally, this study explores the differences in these variables and tests the generalization of the relationships among students in both entrepreneurship- and non-entrepreneurship-related disciplines. Data collected from a survey of 400 students at a Spanish university are analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance and Partial Least Squares. The findings indicate that self-efficacy exerted positive effects on outcome expectations, entrepreneurial interests, and career choice, which holds for students across disciplines. However, interests are not associated with career choice, whereas the effects of outcome expectations depend on their extrinsic/intrinsic nature and the student’s academic orientation.
This article draws on quantitative survey evidence to explore the role of dynamic capabilities in a post-disaster environment, that of Christchurch in New Zealand after the 2010 and 2011 series of major earthquakes. We develop a model to examine the relationship between dynamic capabilities, disaster-related changes to the firm’s resource base and its performance. The hypotheses are tested using a sample of 545 small firms that have been affected by the earthquakes. Results highlight the importance of a firm’s proactive posture and capability to integrate resources in recognising new opportunities in an environment characterised by high volatility and increased uncertainty. These findings offer important theoretical and practical implications.
This article conceptualizes and operationalizes ‘subjective entrepreneurial success’ in a manner which reflects the criteria employed by entrepreneurs, rather than those imposed by researchers. We used two studies to explore this notion; the first qualitative enquiry investigated success definitions using interviews with 185 German entrepreneurs; five factors emerged from their reports: firm performance, workplace relationships, personal fulfilment, community impact and personal financial rewards. The second study developed a questionnaire, the Subjective Entrepreneurial Success–Importance Scale (SES-IS), to measure these five factors using a sample of 184 entrepreneurs. We provide evidence for the validity of the SES-IS, including establishing systematic relationships of SES-IS with objective indicators of firm success, annual income and entrepreneur satisfaction with life and financial situation. We also provide evidence for the cross-cultural invariance of SES-IS using a sample of Polish entrepreneurs. The contribution of our research being that subjective entrepreneurial success is a multi-factorial construct, that is, entrepreneurs value various indicators of success with monetary returns as only one possible option.
This article argues that cultural and personal values are relevant in the formation of entrepreneurial intentions; as such, the interplay between both value-levels deserves attention. Individualist values such as achievement, pleasure, self-direction and an exciting and stimulating life are related to entrepreneurial intention and activity, at both the cultural and personal levels. From a sample of 2069 adults with a university degree, the results support a double-effect of culture on entrepreneurial intention: the personal values effect (a more individualist culture leads to more members exhibiting higher entrepreneurial intentions) and the outlier effect (those who are more individualist than average in their culture will exhibit a higher entrepreneurial intention). Within the two individualist dimensions considered (self-enhancement and openness to change), the relationship of self-enhancement to entrepreneurial intention is stronger than that of openness to change. The implications of these results are discussed and avenues for future research are proposed.
This article investigates ways through which entrepreneurship scholars can overcome some of the methodological weaknesses preventing a more refined understanding of context. It is suggested that a framework based upon insights from ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and broader ‘practice turn’ in organisation studies can offer new perspectives on the situated nature of entrepreneurial practices. This article contributes to entrepreneurship scholarship in two ways. First, through studying real-time interaction data, it is possible to empirically demonstrate how entrepreneurial actors negotiate contextual constraints as they emerge and dissipate over time. Second, this article provides a framework that we hope will encourage a greater focus on actual instances of practice in entrepreneurship scholarship – something that is currently underrepresented.
This article contributes to current debates on agendas and methodologies in small business research by critiquing small business accounting research paradigms within the context of contemporary neoliberal economic policy. Published research is critically examined; it is then argued that a hegemonic neoliberal economic discourse of entrepreneurship has resulted in a narrow research focus and a restricted use of methodologies. We suggest that there is both an economic and an epistemological rationale for more research which focuses on the broader social and political context of accounting within small businesses, rather than a narrow focus on accounting’s role in business growth. The question of appropriate methodology for future research is raised. The limitations of a predominantly quantitative, survey-based and normative approach are discussed and the potential benefits of alternative methodologies are explored.
This article addresses the empirical relationship between masculinity, hegemony and entrepreneurial identity as a largely neglected debate; this omission is addressed by outlining how 10 enterprising men who own and run small businesses perform, in the Goffmanesque sense, a style of ‘entrepreneurial masculinity’ in front of each other during their leisure lives when they meet as a local entrepreneurial fraternity in a semi-rural pub. By so doing, we expand upon prevailing ideas about how male actors perform entrepreneurial identity and develop ethnographic accounts of how gender, entrepreneurship and identity projection culturally intersect.
This article explores how and why entrepreneurs convert their available economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital. We utilise Bourdieu’s theory of practice as a conceptual framework to explore the lived experiences of 10 craft entrepreneurs. This study reveals that transforming capital is a natural and enjoyable process, with our findings highlighting the convertible, multifaceted nature of different forms of capital. We also uncover previously unidentified forms of capital conversions and demonstrate that the conversion process can involve multiple forms of capital. Furthermore, our findings show that craft entrepreneurs give no primacy to economic capital, whose transformations form part of a larger process of capital conversion.
This article examines an apparent contradiction at the heart of the provision of management training and advice for new and small firms. Assessments using self-report data show high levels of satisfaction, implying that the training/advice is effective and appreciated. In contrast, assessments using robust statistical methods point to modest, or even zero, impact upon firm performance. Accordingly, our core research question explores whether there is an identifiable performance benefit of management training or whether impact is limited to emotional attachment to the training provider – reflected in enhanced loyalty. We test this by examining the effects of a bank seminar provided for new enterprises and find it had no significant effects on either the survival or sales growth of participants. However, those new enterprises who participated in the seminar were significantly less likely to switch to a rival bank, implying the seminars may have induced a feeling of loyalty among clients. Finally, we discuss the implications for theory, for the bank and for the providers of training for new and small firms more widely.
This article is novel in proposing belonging as a mediatory and explanatory concept to better understand the relationship between women entrepreneurs and socially embedded gendered assumptions in entrepreneurial practice. Drawing on social theories of belonging and extant entrepreneurial literature, the article explores what belonging involves for women in the entrepreneurial context to offer a conceptualisation of entrepreneurial belonging as relational, dynamic, gendered and in continual accomplishment. Five forms of women’s performing of belonging are identified: by proxy, concealment, modelling the norm, tempered disruption and identity-switching. Illustrating how women both reinforce and challenge gendered norms through strategic and tempered use of legitimacy practices and identity work, these findings also highlight the significance of socio-cultural and political knowledge in efforts to belong.
This article explores the direct influence of school-based enterprise education on career choices and, particularly, how this might be limited as entrepreneurial intentions dissipate over time. We propose that it is the indirect influence of school-based enterprise education, through encouraging voluntary engagement with other forms of enterprise education, which is important. Drawing upon data from the UK Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study, this article utilises a binary logistic regression approach and finds evidence to support the proposed indirect role. This shows the importance of collaboration between those delivering and designing enterprise education at all stages to ensure that young people are prepared correctly to move seamlessly between such stages.
This article explores leadership development in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We investigate determinants of the adoption of leadership development practices in established SMEs expecting human resource management (HRM)-strategy fit, human resource (HR)/leadership expertise and the existence of gaps in leadership capability to influence both the presence and intensity of leadership development practices. We found that all three variables positively related to both measures of adoption. The attitudes of owner-managers towards development mediated the HRM-strategy fit–adoption relationship. The theory and practice implications of our findings are evaluated.
This article explores the role of firm-level human capital for the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Building on the resource-based view of the firm and theories of SME internationalization, we hypothesize that the level of human capital will vary with SME internationalization strategy and will be of considerable importance for firms that follow a strategy of accelerated internationalization. At the same time, we suggest a threshold point, after which additional firm endowments of human capital become less productive. We test our ideas using a unique dataset of all manufacturing SMEs in Belgium which internationalized between 1998 and 2005. Findings indicate a significant curvilinear (inverted U) association between the level of human capital and the firm’s export intensity when firms choose a strategy of accelerated internationalization.
This article examines the impact of corruption on entrepreneurship in transition economies. Utilising in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania, the article finds that despite economic reforms, corruption occupies a pervasive space which impacts entrepreneurial strategy. In both countries, entrepreneurs operate within a ‘devil’s circle’, in which they are unable to operate entirely independent of corruption. This is caused by a combination of weak formal institutions and a weak entrepreneurial culture leading to entrepreneurs either seeking to avoid the attention of government officials by hiding some or all of their activities with little prospect of sanction, limiting their growth aspirations, or engaging in corruption as a way of furthering their activities. The research contributes to understandings of corruption and its impact on entrepreneur strategies to avoid, minimise or benefit from it.
This article examines the determinants of customer orientation and the quadratic effects of customer orientation on export performance. The relationship between customer orientation and export performance has been assumed to have a linear relationship, neglecting the possibility of non-linear relationships. While most studies have been conducted in developed countries, we test our model in Brazil, an emerging market economy. The findings suggest that technology intensity and competitive intensity are key determinants in explaining success in an export market. Our findings also indicate that the relationship between customer orientation and export performance is quadratic (U-shaped) rather than linear. The implications of these findings are discussed.
This conceptual article aims to respond to the poorly addressed question of the emergence of hybrid organizations; that is, organizations that embrace several institutional logics. It does so by developing a model and a set of propositions focusing on the heterogeneity of the entrepreneurial team as a possible driver for hybridity throughout the entrepreneurial process and up to the emergence of a hybrid organization. Contributing to the literatures on (collective) entrepreneurship, imprinting and hybrid organizations, we advance several avenues and conditions under which the heterogeneity of the entrepreneurial team may imprint the entrepreneurial process and lead to the creation of hybrid organizations. Our propositions connect the individual, team and organizational levels and thus, advance our understanding of how institutional logics can be combined across different levels of analysis and throughout the stages of an entrepreneurial process.
This article explores entrepreneurial orientation (EO); this notion has received considerable theoretical and empirical attention in organizational research, emerging as one of the most widely accepted firm-level constructs in the literature. As knowledge in this area has expanded, researchers have delved into the contextual factors that influence the relationship between EO and organizational performance. With the goal of better understanding the circumstances under which pursuing entrepreneurial strategies result in favourable performance outcomes, this article investigates the EO–performance relationship among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India. Data collected from 198 Indian SMEs revealed a strong positive linkage between EO and firm performance. Environmental contingencies – demand growth and competitive intensity – were theorized and found to have a moderating influence on the EO–performance relationship. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
This article explores entrepreneurial cognition theory and the boundaryless view of careers analyzing how a boundaryless view may be composed of several cognitive biases such as overconfidence, belief in the law of small numbers, and illusions of control focused on the ability to enter employment following entrepreneurial exit or failure. These biases reduce risk perceptions associated with the decision to start a venture; however, critical decision-making information may be missed by boundaryless biased individuals, such as negative attributions about former entrepreneurs made by recruitment managers.
This article studies the extent to which corporate entrepreneurial intentions are enacted differently by academic and non-academic entrepreneurs. Using constructs from cognitive research and exploiting the theory of institutional logics, we observe that academic entrepreneurs, notwithstanding their engagement in entrepreneurship, still implement their corporate entrepreneurial intentions acting in accordance with the academic institutional environment to which they belong. Using a matched-pairs research design, our results show that academic entrepreneurs (compared to non-academic ones) leverage their awareness of technical competencies significantly more and their entrepreneurial self-efficacy and awareness of managerial skills considerably less. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications related to how cognitive and institutional factors interact to foster entrepreneurial value in newly established firms.
This article investigates the effect of disability on progress in the start-up process. One person out of 10 has a disability, yet entrepreneurship literature remains silent on the contributions of this population. This is surprising given that people with disabilities are more likely to be self-employed than the general population. Results from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics show that start-up efforts by nascent entrepreneurs with disabilities are less likely to result in the emergence of a viable organization, indicating that nascent entrepreneurs with disabilities face particular challenges.
This article assesses the relationship between the experiences of the philanthropic venture capital firm’s founding team and the venture firm’s subsequent economic, social, and total performance. Results indicate that commercial and social experiences help economic and social performance, respectively. However, when pursuing the maximization of both social and economic performance, philanthropic venture capital firms perform best when the founding team has high levels of commercial experience and low levels of social experience.
This article investigates how, under what circumstances and with what consequences small employers take action to discover their regulatory obligations to employees. It complements and builds on existing research by switching the focus from substantive adaptations by employers to employment law to the prior issue of discovering regulatory requirements. This article contributes to the literature on small firms and regulation in several ways. First, employer discovery of regulatory obligations is profoundly shaped through social interaction with external support networks. Family and friends with human resource management (HRM)/legal expertise often play a crucial role in regulatory discovery. Second, regulatory discovery practices are influenced by the broader business contexts and, in particular, the incidence of HRM problems that leave employers exposed to the risk of litigation if handled badly. Third, the burden of discovering regulation is a dynamic phenomenon, fluctuating over time, rather than a stable, permanent condition.
This article analyses the survival probability of privately owned small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Slovakia during the post-communist period up to and including the recent recessionary period. We build models within a failure prediction context developing ‘transition’ variables that relate to the origin and ownership of the company. Using a sample of 126,649 sets of accounts of 44,597 SMEs in Slovakia, we identify 793 exits by failure during the period 1997–2012. We find that supplementary information relating to the transition process, in combination with the financial and non-financial variables, makes a significant contribution to the default prediction power of risk models built specifically for Slovakian SMEs. We find strong support for our hypothesis that, to some degree, foreign ownership reduces failure probability in addition, there is support for our ‘privatisation trap’ and ‘post-transformation recession’ hypotheses.
We propose a theoretical model that argues that the expected financial distress costs in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) result from the interaction of the financial distress likelihood and the magnitude of the consequences borne whenever financial failure occurs. The empirical evidence from five European countries, where the insolvency laws are representative of prevailing institutional traditions, supports this model. We reveal that the ex ante financial distress costs suffered by a firm depend not only on the likelihood of financial distress but also on the variables that influence the amount of time and costs incurred during the insolvency process. Specifically, financial costs are lower where the capacity to use tangible assets as collateral and short-term debt is greater; they are higher the greater the use of long-term secured debt. Additionally, the effect of these variables is moderated by a firm’s ownership and by the nature of the insolvency law in operation. The timely management of these variables can avoid the high costs involved in an involuntary exit.
This article offers a review of conceptual and empirical research on knowledge components during the process of new venture internationalization. A framework is developed to illustrate different knowledge components that constitute ‘international knowledge’. We focus specifically upon the interface between entrepreneur and venture capitalist knowledge respectively. Propositions are developed in relation to these knowledge components; based on our framework and the related propositions, suggestions for future research activities are outlined. Finally, we offer insights for managers and investors in the development of their internationalization strategy.
Empirical evidence for links between human capital and entrepreneurship potential is equivocal despite a wide range of studies. This research draws on prospective longitudinal data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) to offer new theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence on the human capital predictors that drive entrepreneurship. The results suggest that start-up is more likely for those who demonstrate higher levels of analytical and creative abilities in childhood, benefit from a supportive family background, invest in their human capital through diverse and longer work experience and have accrued a solid basic education, albeit not strongly credentialed. This article contributes to a better understanding of human capital acquisition during the unfolding entrepreneurial life-course. Mediators and moderators of the relationship between education, human capital and entrepreneurship are also identified by accentuating the importance of family processes. In doing so, this study bridges the human capital and cultural capital literatures that have tended to evolve on separate tracks.
This article critically analyses how clients who have limited professional financial qualifications and experience evaluate the quality of highly customized, complex, intangible professional service such as financial audits. As the financial and business outcomes of an audit only become manifest over time, clients have difficulty in evaluating its technical worth. Consequently, it is critical to explore what motivates client likelihood of re-engaging an audit firm. This study of 519 small-firm clients of financial audit firms in Thailand demonstrats that, consistent with signaling theory, the quality of interpersonal communication, rather than technical quality, has the greatest impact on client perceptions of value-for-fee and, importantly, the likelihood of re-engaging the audit firm in the future.
This article develops the conceptualisation of regulation as a dynamic force, enabling and motivating actions that contribute to small company performance as well as being a burden, cost or constraint. Using interview and survey data from a study of preparers and users of small company abbreviated accounts, the article argues that regulation generates contradictory consequences as both confidentiality and disclosure potentially serve their interests. It presents an analytical framework specifying the mechanisms through which regulation influences performance directly and indirectly. Regulation affects small companies directly by requiring the disclosure of financial information but also, indirectly by influencing important stakeholders – for example, banks, suppliers, customers and others – to provide vital resources such as credit, and market opportunities. Indirect regulatory influences might be only partly visible yet exert a powerful effect on performance.
This article examines the adoption of innovative total cost of ownership business models by small and medium-sized enterprises in business-to-business markets might be constrained. Whereas prior explanatory research focuses on suppliers and customers, relatively little attention has been afforded to relational factors, and even less to the dominant logics employed in business life. This study employs the concept of a service-dominant logic that allows for consideration of the above factors within a coherent framework. Based on research propositions developed from this framework, the article contains an explorative case study approach against the background of German mechanical engineering.
This article investigates the post-merger performance effects resulting from mergers and acquisitions (M&As), drawing on a representative sample taken from all Swiss M&As occurring between 2006 and 2008, the majority of which took place between small and medium-sized firms (SMEs). Using this data, the study was able to investigate the impact of M&As on differing measures of economic performance, and also on innovation for the post-merger period of 2008–2010. The study found positive statistically significant performance effects arising from M&As for three of five critical performance indicators utilized. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that growth is a principal motive for external mergers, while efficiency is more influential on internal mergers.
This article analyzes the role of context in the advancement of entrepreneurship research. It defines contextualization and discusses why and how it is important in entrepreneurship research analysing the evidence relating to different dimensions of entrepreneurial context, focusing on temporal, industry, spatial, social and organizational, ownership and governance. The nature of entrepreneurship research, with and without contextualization, is explored and finally, the article considers the challenges in undertaking contextualized entrepreneurship research.
This article examines the dark side of the entrepreneurial orientation–market orientation interplay, and introduces consumer learning to the research stream. In a sample of 206 mid-sized manufacturing firms, the study shows that entrepreneurial orientation has a positive impact on new product development performance, but the effects are reduced when firms simultaneously implement a market orientation philosophy. While having both an entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation philosophy may hinder new product development performance, the article examines how a high market orientation may help reduce consumer learning and enhance the adoption of radical new products.
This research note analyses the investment harvest expectations of a large Canadian angel group. These angels co-finance large high-tech deals; on average, greater than CAN$1.2m. Canadian low listing requirements and the junior stock market make the initial public offering a possible exit mode. However, angels prefer a trade sale, consistent with the proposition that large acquirers can fully and rapidly exploit innovations and offer better exit values. Securities regulation impedes initial public offering exit; reluctance to pursue this exit strategy however, increases with angel experience. The classical funding escalator, including venture capitalists, no longer appears to be a dominant model.
This article explores the growth aspirations of owners and managers of young firms in a post-conflict economy by focusing on social capital. It treats social capital as a multidimensional, multilevel phenomenon, studying the effects of discussion network characteristics, trust in institutions, generalised trust in people and local ethnic pluralism. We argue that in a post-conflict country, ethnic pluralism is indicative of local norms of tolerance towards experimentation and risk taking which support growth aspirations. It also distinguishes between the aspirations of hired managers and owners-managers. The empirical counterpart and hypotheses testing rely on survey evidence drawn from young businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This article argues that joining global value chains may be decisive for supplier firms in developed countries by providing incentives and opportunities to upgrade their capabilities to export and innovate. We describe an investigation conducted on a sample of Italian manufacturing firms, drawn from a database spanning 1998–2006 that compares labour productivity and total factor productivity between supplier and final firms at the same level of demonstrated ability (measured in terms of exporting and innovating). Findings indicate that ‘traditional’ supplier firms are less productive than final firms; as the ability of supplier firms increases, their productivity shortfall decreases to the extent that for those able to both export and innovate, there is no statistically significant difference in productivity between supplier and final firms.
This article investigates the effects of firm-level factors, including size, profitability, number of employees, business strategy and life-cycle, on finance seeking (debt and/or equity) by Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The study identifies firms seeking (or not seeking) finance and those who successfully (or unsuccessfully) acquired finance over a three-year period. Taking advantage of the longitudinal nature of the the data, the study finds that experience as a discouraged finance seeker significantly affects future behaviours. This has important policy implications: the observed demand for finance by SMEs and the capital rationing implied may understate the actual level as potential finance seekers anticipate rejection. The study also finds that SMEs become relatively more discouraged in seeking debt than equity finance.
This study uses UK data to consider how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)1 coped during the recent financial crisis. This is important, as SMEs are major contributors to job creation, but are vulnerable to falling demand. It finds that 4 in 10 SMEs experienced a fall in employment during the recession, and 5 in 10 experienced a fall in sales. Within 12 months of the recession, three-quarters of entrepreneurs had a desire to grow. This suggests that while the immediate effects of recession are severe, entrepreneurs recover quite quickly. Importantly, the analysis found that recessionary growth is hugely concentrated among entrepreneurs with the highest human capital.
Using unique survey data, this study investigates the impact of the learning of returnee entrepreneurs on firm performance. The findings indicate that returnee entrepreneurs’ experiential and vicarious learning boost firm performance. However, firm age significantly weakens the impact of learning on firm performance. The results extend the existing literature by explicitly examining the impact of the interrelationship between two forms of learning and firm age.
This study investigates how a business owner’s human and social capital affects start-up absorptive capacity under different environmental conditions. From an analysis of a sample of 199 Flemish start-ups, the study observes that the owners’ start-up experience and bridging social capital are positively and significantly related to the new venture’s ability to acquire, assimilate and exploit external information. In addition, the findings reveal a positive but decreasing effect of owner-specific human capital as a function of environmental turbulence. Furthermore, the study finds that management experience significantly stimulates start-up absorptive capacity within highly dynamic environments, whereas it hinders it within stable environments. Finally, implications of the study and opportunities for future research are provided.
This article explores the entrepreneurial motivations of women entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates. It analyses the impact of macro social forces and cultural values on the motivation for entrepreneurship and explores how post-materialism, legitimation and dissatisfaction theories may explain these motives. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with local women entrepreneurs and analyzed using an interpretive approach. The results illustrate how Emirati women entrepreneurs navigate the patriarchy of their society, socio-economic realities, and structural and attitudinal organisational barriers to construct and negotiate their entrepreneurial motivations. The findings also illustrate how the entrepreneurial motivations of Emirati women unfold in a complex interplay between pull and push motivational factors within the Arab patriarchal and Islamic contexts, thus lending credence to the post-materialism, legitimation, and dissatisfaction theories, which collectively help explain the entrepreneurial motives of women in this context.
This article explores the extent to which the views of micro-firm owner-managers regarding growth and lifestyle issues affect their entrepreneurial behaviour. Semi-directed interviews were conducted with 79 owner-managers to inform a typology that consists of four owner-manager views associated with success, subsistence, hedonism and paternalism. This study investigates the differences in the behaviours associated with these four profiles. The representatives of only two types (success and paternalism) ‘want’ to grow; conversely, owner-managers of the other two types (hedonism and subsistence) do not. The findings show that micro-firm owner-managers are driven by varied and sometimes profoundly divergent views which will have substantial effects on a firm’s strategies and development.
This article examines the intermediary role of internal knowledge-sharing in the relationship between two aspects of small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) internal organisational context: structural and relational interdependence and their entrepreneurial orientation (EO). With a sample of 146 SMEs, the structural equation modelling results show that higher levels of internal knowledge-sharing associate with stronger EO, and that such knowledge-sharing derives from higher levels of task and reward interdependence, as well as from higher levels of social interaction and trust. The findings also reveal that internal knowledge-sharing fully mediates the relationships between SMEs’ task interdependence and trust with EO. The article contributes to research by highlighting several features of SMEs’ internal environment that can be used to enhance their entrepreneurial postures.
It has been well over a decade since Lumpkin and Dess first suggested new entry to represent the principal outcome of an entrepreneurial orientation (EO). Yet, little consideration has been given to the implications of conceptualizing new entry as a phenomenon distinct from EO. This article draws attention to inconsistent assumptions concerning the role of new entry across the two dominant conceptualizations of EO, discusses empirical challenges with exploring new entry as an outcome of EO, and provides a longitudinal test of the causal chain linking EO to future new entry behaviors and eventual performance outcomes.
This article proposes that a complementary relationship exists between the formalised nature of digital loyalty card data, and the informal nature of small business market orientation. A longitudinal, case-based research approach analysed this relationship in small firms given access to Tesco Clubcard data. The findings reveal a new-found structure and precision in small firm marketing planning from data exposure; this complemented rather than conflicted with an intuitive feel for markets. In addition, small firm owners were encouraged to include employees in marketing planning.
This article examines the relationship between firm size and public sector tendering. The findings show that size, measured by employee number, significantly influences small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) tendering resources, behaviour and success; as such, micro-enterprises are resource-disadvantaged, tender less often and have lower success rates compared to small and medium-sized firms. These findings indicate that SMEs are heterogeneous tenderers, and point to the need for more focused research on how SME characteristics influence ability and willingness to tender.
This article uses an in-depth case study of two franchisor imposed change processes in one franchise system to generate propositions on the antecedents of franchisee responses to franchisor-initiated strategic change. The results point to the importance of the level of standardisation in the franchise system on franchisees’ responses to changes introduced by the franchisor. The franchise system’s standardisation level, as perceived and expected by franchisees, determines the number, nature and level of importance of antecedents of franchisees’ responses to change. Overall, franchisees’ expected profitability and trust are the most important antecedents. Additionally, the franchisees’ non-economic motivations to running a franchise influence their decisions to take-up alternative opportunities and diminish the importance of switching costs in this process. Finally, actions of parties outside the existing franchise relationship may influence franchisee decisions to switch systems.
This article investigates the role of trust in knowledge acquisition by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the conversion of the knowledge to knowledge-related outcomes. The specific context of the research is the weak client–firm exchange relationship where neither party expects further transactions. Research has overlooked these relationships as a potential source of resources, especially knowledge-based resources, because they are considered devoid of trust. An empirical analysis of survey data collected from 293 SME owners was undertaken using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The findings suggest that trust contributes to an SME owner’s acquisition of knowledge from the ‘one-off’, arm’s-length client, and that weak client–firm exchange relationships should not be overlooked as a potential source of knowledge to the SME.
This article explores the role and significance of marketing in the entrepreneurial process.Utilising an 11-year longitudinal study, supported by a context-rich interpretive approach, the interrelationship between marketing and entrepreneurship at different stages of the business life cycle are examined. Under an effectuation and enactment framework, entrepreneurship is neither ends-driven nor means-driven, but a consequence of the interplay between actors and social context through ongoing enactment. As the ‘joint core actors of the business’, entrepreneurs actively interact with their customers in shaping the marketing activities of the business to meet their ends.
This article develops and tests a model integrating dynamic organisational capabilities, market transformation arrangements and firm performance. This model addresses weaknesses in previous empirical research by integrating accumulation and path dependency in measures of dynamic capabilities. Using a sample of 444 small and medium-sized Australian manufacturing firms, the study finds that performance is driven by the successful deployment of dynamic capabilities; such performance is mediated by purposeful market transformation strategies.
This article explores the decoupling between the rhetoric and practice of ISO 9000, an internationally disseminated standard in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Extensive fieldwork based on 65 in-depth interviews of general managers, middle managers and employees was undertaken in eight Spanish SMEs which adopted the standard over a long period of time. Contrary to common belief and the dominant neo-institutional approach to ISO certification, the findings indicate that firms tend to adopt ISO 9000 symbolically in response to various internal organisational contingencies, rather than as part of their adaptation to external pressures. ISO 9000 certification in SMEs can be compared to the acquisition of an organisational degree whose optimistic rhetoric and similar institutional pressures mask the considerable heterogeneity of certified organisations and elasticity of the standard when integrated into daily activities.
This article contributes to contemporary debates concerning the impact of regulation on small business performance. Reassessing previous studies, we build our insights on their useful, but partial, approaches. Prior studies treat regulation principally as a static and negative influence, thereby neglecting the full range of regulatory effects on business performance. This study adopts a more nuanced approach, one informed by critical realism, that conceptualises social reality as stratified, and social causality in terms of the actions of human agents situated within particular social-structural contexts. We theorise regulation as a dynamic force, enabling as well as constraining performance, generating contradictory performance effects. Such regulatory effects flow directly from adaptations to regulation, and indirectly via relationships with the wide range of close and distant stakeholders with whom small businesses interact. Future research should examine these contradictory regulatory influences on small business performance.
This article explores the differences between habitual entrepreneurs (serial and portfolio entrepreneurs) and novices in terms of their passion for entrepreneurial activities. Using the Dualistic Model of Passion as a conceptual framework, the hypotheses were tested using a random sample of entrepreneurs that registered a limited company in 2008. Results of logistic regression analyses showed that habitual entrepreneurs experience extra high passion for entrepreneurial activity. However, of the two passion dimensions proposed in the Dualistic Model of Passion – harmonious passion and obsessive passion – the obsessive component is particularly evident among habitual entrepreneurs. A closer analysis, comparing novice, serial and portfolio entrepreneurship, suggests that portfolio entrepreneurs score highest on the harmonious dimension of passion.
This article explores the gap within the extant literature regarding the effectiveness of innovation networks comprising small firms and public research organisations (PROs). By integrating the knowledge-based view, relational view and social capital approach, the article analyses innovation-driven dyadic networks involving SMEs and PROs. Through a multiple case-study method, an examination was undertaken of the structural, relational and cognitive configuration of networks. The study found a co-evolution path between the life-cycle of the relationship, mechanisms of governance and innovation objectives; the existence of a risk of ‘inertial trust’ and a need to overlap ‘basic’ knowledge bases and develop shared languages.
Sustainable entrepreneurship encourages a focus on innovation, efficiency and environmentally-friendly actions. Certification enables firms to accumulate legitimacy that enables stakeholders to know of, and understand, a firm’s activities: it is a mechanism to buffer against the liabilities of newness and smallness. Building on insights from the resource-based view of the firm, institutional theory and signalling theory, this article conceptualises environmental certification as an observable high-quality resource investment signal. This resource fosters innovation and encourages certified firms to accumulate and mobilise legitimacy. Regression analysis detected that very young and micro firms who cited the compounded signal of certification reported significantly higher levels of effectiveness. Micro firms that cited the compounded signal of certification reported weakly significantly higher levels profitability. Certification enables very young, rather than young firms, to address the liabilities of newness, and enables micro, rather than small firms, to address the liabilities of smallness.
This article uses the sociological method of structured observation to explore the every day behaviour of entrepreneurs from an exploration-exploitation perspective. Six entrepreneurs leading successful growth-oriented businesses were observed for a four-day period and 2305 ‘units of action’ performed by the entrepreneurs were recorded. Six behavioural patterns that allowed them, their management team or the organisation as a whole to pursue ambidexterity were identified. In contrast with the existing high-level approaches of ambidexterity, this study provides a synthesis of entrepreneur behaviours and competencies to achieve ambidexterity at the operating level.
This article critically analyses the fit between decision-making and strategy in the performance of family firms. Based on a configurative methodology, survey data were collected from privately owned firms. From analysis of this data, we conclude that the advantages and disadvantages of family participation within the business must acknowledge the strategic context utilised by the firm to compete in the marketplace. Family firms perform better if they follow a product/reputation differentiation strategy and balance their family and business-oriented decision-making, or if they follow a low-cost strategy and put the business first in their decision-making.
Little is known about the effect that cultural media has in influencing attitudes and behaviours towards entrepreneurship. In addressing this research gap this article employs a neologism – ‘entre-tainment’ – briefly defined as televisual media that stage and perform entrepreneurship for entertainment purposes. This study surveyed university students to test three hypotheses which examine the relationship between perceptions of ‘entre-tainment’ and entrepreneurial intent (multiple regression model using ordinary least squares). The findings conclude that there is a positive relationship between the skills that students believe they ascertain when they watch ‘entre-tainment’, and entrepreneurial intention. Furthermore, the social legitimacy that they attach to this cultural media has a similar positive effect. Finally, the greater the social legitimacy attached to ‘entre-tainment’, the stronger the relationship between perceived skills and entrepreneurial intention. The analysis focuses on the broader implications of these findings of potential effects of entre-tainment in transmitting narrow messages of what it means to behave entrepreneurially.
Research suggests that entrepreneurs tend to seek to maximize utility when considering whether to pursue a new venture opportunity. However, when choosing whether to persist with their current venture or not, utility maximization may not be of primary importance. Using a conjoint experiment, this article examines the difference between policies in start-up decisions versus persistence decisions. The analysis of the decisions of 135 entrepreneurs indicates that the manner in which entrepreneurs use expectancy and value in persistence decision policies is significantly different to the way that they use expectancy and value in general opportunity pursuit decision policies. The results offer novel insights into the entrepreneurial decision-making process.
This article develops and tests absorptive capacity’s relationship with one of its important forerunners – systems thinking – which, although postulated as an important element, has received little empirical attention in the absorptive capacity literature. Our contribution lies in the introduction of unique pathways through which systems thinking influences absorptive capacity and how it affects various interrelated dimensions of high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises’ performance, by examining evidence from South Korea’s semiconductor industry.
This article examines the extent to which combinations of intellectual resources and product innovation capability, and reputational resources and marketing capability, influence the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to meet or exceed performance goals. Empirical results drawn from 171 SMEs suggest that when the combination of intellectual resources and product innovation capability in addition to the combination of reputational resources and marketing capability are high, SME growth is enhanced. However, a high level of intellectual resources combined with a low level of product innovation capability as well as a combination of a high level of reputational resources with a low level of marketing capability (and vice versa) are not significantly related to growth. These results imply that a high level of resources cannot compensate for a low level of capabilities (and vice versa).
This article explores the role of the diversity of the domestic financial networks for the internationalization of entrepreneurial ventures in transition economies. Building on network theories of social exchange and resource dependency, it hypothesizes that the diversity of the entrepreneurial venture’s financial network will have a positive effect on internationalization and this effect will be amplified by the diversity of the entrepreneur’s personal network and the size of the new venture. A survey data collection methodology is used and three hypotheses are tested on a sample of new and small ventures in Bulgaria. Regression results show that the diversity of the domestic financial network has a positive effect on internationalization, and that its role increases with the size of the new venture. Implications for the theory of small firm internationalization, managerial practice and public policy are discussed.
This article explores the potential of university technology business incubators to enhance the absorptive capacity of new technology-based firms. The research pursues three critical themes: it employs the absorptive capacity construct to analyse and evaluate the potential of incubation to strengthen the business model of new technology firms. It then explores the interaction between founders and incubator directors, mentors and business advisers to assess how this might enhance absorptive capacity. Finally, it indicates how such interactions can facilitate the transition from potential to realised absorptive capacity. The article interrogates the incubation process by using the absorptive capacity framework to evaluate how it might strengthen the business model of new technology firms. The qualitative findings suggest that where founders, advisers, mentors and incubator directors engage collaboratively to create an iterative dialogue which informs the development of a viable business model, the process by which potential absorptive capacity can be fully realised is substantially strengthened.
This article builds upon a growing body of research calling for a more contextual approach to entrepreneurship studies. It combines theoretical resources from Joas’s theory of creative action with institutional logics thinking. A model of the emergence of entrepreneurial action is developed as an outcome of a continuous dialogue between theoretical and empirical work. Entrepreneurial action is shown as emerging at the crossroads between tensions at the general level of institutional logics and tensions at the level of an individual’s life-orientation. Two main insights are offered for future theoretical and empirical developments. First, that it is possible to move beyond the artificial separation of ‘context’ and ‘individual’ in entrepreneurship studies to investigate the complex interweaving of individual, organisational and societal levels that comprises entrepreneurial activity. Second, the concept of entrepreneurial action has a relevance far beyond the creation of new business ventures and activities engaged in by owner-managers.
This article is a critical evaluation of claims that business exits should not be seen as failures, on the grounds that may constitute voluntary liquidation, or because they are learning opportunities. This can be seen as further evidence of bias affecting entrepreneurship research, where failures are repackaged as successes. This article reiterates that the majority of business exits are unsuccessful. Drawing on ideas from the organisational life course, it is suggested that business ‘death’ is a suitable term for describing business closure. Even cases of voluntary ‘harvest liquidation’ such as retirement can be meaningfully described as business deaths.
This article examines the failure path of newly-incorporated companies and determines the impact of founder director/board characteristics on survival. Hypotheses are tested regarding director characteristics within a discrete-time hazard model which controls for macro-economic conditions, recursive relationships and all non-insolvency exits. Regarding the estimation method, analysis of the variables’ average marginal effects is helpful in unravelling the subtleties of these effects, being used to confirm the magnitude and economic significance of the results. The study utilises a unique dataset of more than 5.8m company-year observations (near population) of newly-incorporated companies and early-stage board characteristics. Results suggest that the background, experience, networking, gender diversity and composition of new boards are important in determining the trajectory of success or failure of new firms.
Using predictive and effectuation logics as a framework, this research note explains how case study research was conducted to demonstrate rigour and relevance. The study involves a longitudinal cross-country case study on small and medium-sized firm growth and networks undertaken by research teams in three countries (Finland, Denmark and New Zealand) involving 33 firms. This research note outlines the implications of this research and provides valuable guidance and reflections upon opportunities for future research regarding the conduct of contextual studies in entrepreneurship without compromising validity and reliability.
This article explores the relational dynamics of legitimation within a professional service venture context, using a Bourdieusian framework to elucidate the struggles for capital and legitimacy that characterise the venture development process. Two profiles of individual business owners who renounce or adhere to established norms of the professional field are identified: apostate and traditional. Small accounting ventures may benefit from improved access to resources if they concentrate on fitting in with prevailing small firm professional logics, eschewing logics from outside the focal field associated with apostates. A model of legitimacy is developed that accounts for the efficacy of institutional and strategic modes of legitimacy relative to the maturity of the field and objectification of its social formations. We propose that entrepreneurial habitus mediates field-level conditions and capital formations that, when combined, create symbolic capital and resource acquisition possibilities.
This article examines human resource management (HRM) practices in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In particular, by examining the issue of causal order, it addresses a significant gap in the extant HRM–performance literature within the context of such firms. Significant simultaneous and longitudinal relationships between HRM practices and specific performance indicators are found. Controlling for past performance and thus, testing for the potential for reverse causality does not eliminate the significant relationship between human resource practices and performance. In sum, the use of human resource practices is found to positively enhance sustained competitive advantage. By explicitly examining the issue of causality in the human resources –performance relationship, this article makes a contribution to both the human resource and SME literatures.
This article critically considers distinctions between, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship from a theoretical perspective. Using case study analysis of 10 non-governmental organisations the paper explores these concepts empirically. Findings on social enterprise reveal a focus on the purpose of social businesses, while findings on social entrepreneurship reveal an emphasis on the processes underlying innovative and entrepreneurial activity for social purposes. Discussion of these findings indicates important developments relevant to informing the growing area of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship research. Implications extend to understanding the need for action to achieve social change, and an acceptance of risk when existing actions fail to achieve their intended outcomes.
This article explores relationship lending in the small business context: it discusses the roles of entrepreneurial competence and voluntarily disclosed information as determinants of credit access. More specifically, it proposes that the loan manager’s evaluation of the information voluntarily disclosed by the entrepreneur is an important complement to publicly available financial data and soft information collected through observation and third parties in framing the loan manager’s perception of entrepreneur competence. Further, the article argues that banks charge lower interest rates if the loan manager perceives the entrepreneur to be competent. Econometric analysis based on 433 bank–firm relationships supports these hypothesised relationships. The results imply that entrepreneurs need to communicate their competence effectively to loan managers, and that banks should utilise these personal evaluations as inputs to lending decisions.
Using concepts derived from strategic entrepreneurship, this article discusses small firm growth models and investigates the determinants of small firm growth in Ghana. The study develops hypotheses that relate firm growth to investment in research and development, human capital, social capital, innovation and exporting. Using data from a sample of 441 entrepreneurs, the study develops ordinary least square regression models to test the hypotheses. The models find several positive relationships between firm growth and the characteristics of the entrepreneur, firm resources and firm strategy, and in so doing provide some support from a developing country for the strategic entrepreneurship framework.
Home-based businesses (HBBs) represent an increasingly important form of entrepreneurial activity, yet often remain overlooked within academic literature and largely invisible within official statistics. Set against the background of the home becoming a more common place of business, this article unpacks owner-entrepreneurs’ experiences in forming their HBB. By employing Lefebvre’s concept of everyday life and drawing on de Certeau’s work, it examines the trajectories and tactics of HBB owner-entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region in the UK. Focusing on the creative industries sector, the article problematises the push/pull, opportunity/necessity based binary to elucidate how incidents experienced by HBB owner-entrepreneurs affect the formation of HBBs. The motivations for creating HBBs are shown to be complex, comprising personal and work-related incidents which are related to the lived practices of owner-entrepreneurs. Finally, the article broadens the discussion to reflect on implications for public policy and outlines directions for further research into HBBs as an increasingly pertinent field of entrepreneurship.
This article investigates how coopetition enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to create entrepreneurial opportunities in fast-paced industries. We explore the managerial challenges SMEs face when collaborating with large powerful competitors, and examine how they balance this relationship to create and sustain business opportunities through coopetition. Based on three exploratory case studies in the information technology and telecoms industry, the article develops a theoretical model suggesting that SMEs can manage the liabilities of smallness and newness, and sustain independence in and balance coopetitive relationships with large firms if they develop alliance portfolio managing capabilities. We find that the ability to build legitimacy, enhance agility and create role flexibility plays an important role in balancing and navigating among different coopetitive relationships, thereby creating and sustaining opportunities.
Research into the phenomenon of social innovation has long focused on what it is and why people become engaged in this form of behaviour. However, another piece of the theoretical jigsaw requires understanding how this type of innovation is enacted by organisations. This article looks at the means by which not-for-profit ventures pursuing socially innovative activities develop the necessary capabilities to innovate. The multidimensional theoretical construct of absorptive capacity and the evolutionary economics concept of organisational routines are used to analyse 14 case studies of innovative not-for-profit ventures in Australia and the UK. The results show that these organisations have a unique mediating function in the social innovation process by configuring internal and external absorptive capacity routines to combine user and technological knowledge flows. The article concludes by proposing some research directions for those taking forward the study of social innovation.
Although a number of studies have examined the antecedents of export performance, little empirical attention has been given to the influence of distribution support and price adaptation on this issue. To address this gap in the literature, this article develops a new model which integrates these two constructs as key variables affecting export performance. The results suggest that support given to the distributor has a strong and positive impact on export performance. In addition, the findings indicate that distribution support plays a mediating role in the model. Contrary to expectations, the results show that price adaptation has no significant impact on export performance. Although in the literature price adaptation and export performance is assumed to have a linear relationship, further analysis shows a non-linear (U-shaped) relationship between these two constructs. The implications of these findings along with the limitations of the study are discussed.
The article examines the strategies by which environmentally-motivated social enterprises seek to scale up their positive impacts, drawing on a theoretical understanding of the role of entrepreneurial agency in transitions to a more sustainable economy and society. Case study evidence is used to explore different forms of enterprise growth, contributions to economic, environmental and social value, and the capabilities involved in their realisation. A typology of three distinct approaches or modes is introduced to help explain orientations and strategies that reflect both conventional conceptions of growth and alternative ways of growing social and environmental value. The role of values, capabilities and relational learning in shaping strategies and addressing the tensions and challenges encountered within each category is highlighted.
Although experiential knowledge is a well-documented construct in the internationalisation literature, research on the multidimensionality of the construct remains limited and we do not know how different knowledge combinations among internationalising SMEs are composed. This article seeks to answer the research questions: is experiential knowledge in the internationalisation process a multidimensional construct; and is there a pattern to be found among the experiential knowledge profiles of internationalising SMEs? In the article, the multidimensionality of the concept is established and in the first step of the analysis, four experience-based, knowledge profiles of internationalising firms are identified: internationalisation, institutional, business network and social network knowledge. In the second step, the types of knowledge are used to identify experiential knowledge profiles. Four profiles are identified: masters, institutional experts, social networkers and learners. The article concludes that experiential knowledge is a multidimensional construct and that internationalising SMEs develop heterogeneous experiential knowledge profiles.
This article investigates the interactive effects of chief executive officer (CEO) age and CEO attitudes toward younger and older employees on organisational age cultures. Data was collected from 66 CEOs of small and medium-sized businesses and 274 employees. Results were consistent with expectations based on organisational culture and upper echelons theories. The relationship between CEO age and organisational age culture for younger employees was negative for CEOs with a less positive attitude toward younger employees and positive for those with a more positive attitude toward younger employees. The relationship between CEO age and organisational age culture for older employees was positive for CEOs with a more positive attitude toward older employees and non-significant for those with a less positive attitude toward older employees. The findings provide initial support for the existence of organisational age cultures, suggesting that these cultures can be predicted by the interplay of CEO age and age-related attitudes.
This article examines the use of a model of search by entrepreneurs; for decades they have been advised to remain alert but now, new approaches are more open to effectuation and creation. However, so far none provides guidance regarding how to improve search effectiveness. We report upon a phenomenological investigation of Fiet’s model of constrained, systematic search which offers a prescriptive alternative. In order to test the latter’s effectiveness, 10 participants who started 47 ventures were interviewed. The article presents evidence of its use by these repeatedly successful entrepreneurs, finds support for the model and discusses its limitations and contributions.
This article examines the determinants of the value-added contribution offered by advisors to entrepreneurs seeking venture capital (VC) funding. It hypothesizes that the contribution of advisors is particularly helpful in addressing problems of asymmetric information and uncertainty. The study develops seven hypotheses derived from agency theory using data from questionnaire responses given by entrepreneurs that used advisors to acquire VC. The results indicate that advisor value-added contributions are substantial when entrepreneurs have limited experience in dealing with venture capitalists (VCs). Other determinants are stage of venture development, level of innovation and the entrepreneur’s industry sector experience.
This article analyses longitudinal case-based research exploring the attitudes and strategic responses of micro-enterprise owners in adopting information and communication technology (ICT). In so doing, it contributes to the limited literature on micro-enterprise ICT adoption, with a particular focus on sole proprietors. It provides a basis for widening the theoretical base of the literature pertaining to ICT adoption on two levels. First, a framework is developed which integrates the findings to illustrate the relationships between attitudes towards ICT adoption, endogenous and exogenous influencers of these attitudes and subsequent strategic response in ICT adoption. Second, building upon this framework the article reveals the unique challenges, opportunities and implications of ICT adoption for sole-proprietor micro-enterprises.
This article explores the strategies pursued by small and medium-sized firms to actively sustain growth within declining markets. A critical analysis of relevant growth theories informs the development of a semi-structured interview schedule; findings drawn from 20 case studies indicate that firms adopt a multiple-strategy approach in which they simultaneously pursue an innovative differentiation and product or service-customisation strategy. Following this strategy, it was found that firms make an intentional search for high-margin products, avoid aggressive price competition and maintain tight control of costs. The article demonstrates that an adverse environment does not necessarily inhibit firm growth and that individual firm-specific strategies can be invoked to overcome volatile market conditions.
This research note investigates the failure probability of British Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in terms of spatial proximity to London and operating within the financial services sector. The results suggest that financial services firms in proximity to London experience a higher failure rate on AIM. It is suggested that part of the higher failure rate observed on AIM, compared to the failure rate of small IPOs elsewhere, can be explained by the London dominance of AIM, which favours those financial sector businesses that manage to achieve an IPO.
This article aims to understand how the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of the franchise system may impact franchisor–franchisee relationship quality, given the conflicting forces for standardization/uniformity and franchisee desire for autonomy. A cross-sectional research design, involving a mail questionnaire survey, was employed to collect data from a sample of franchisors operating in the UK. The hypotheses specified in the study were tested using regression (including moderated regression) analyses. The results revealed that EO was significantly and positively related to relationship quality (as perceived by the franchisor). In addition, the recruitment of entrepreneurial franchisees was found to have a positively significant impact on relationship quality. The structural support systems used by franchisors to encourage franchisee entrepreneurial activities were not found to moderate the relationship between EO and relationship quality. The results suggest that systems with EO and entrepreneurial franchisees may enjoy better relations.
This article posits the idea of the ‘fictive entrepreneur’ and the ‘fictive student’ to explore how the historical masculinisation of entrepreneurship has informed UK policy and higher education (HE) approaches to entrepreneurship education, and the implications of this for female students. Using a Bourdieuian perspective, discourse analysis is employed to critically analyse policy and research documents and identify entrepreneurship discourses that construct both a ‘fictive entrepreneur’ that students should aspire to become, and a ‘fictive student’ who will benefit from HE entrepreneurship education. It argues that rather than being gender neutral or meritocratic, these discourses of entrepreneurship are saturated with gendered meanings which position HE students and entrepreneurs in potentially damaging ways.
This article examines an under-investigated area in relationship banking, i.e. the use of bank advice and support and its impacts on the financial conditions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The findings indicate that the characteristics of businesses and entrepreneurs, among other factors, have determinant effects on the use of bank support by SMEs when they make financial decisions. SMEs can alleviate the severity of their financial problems significantly by using bank support more fully, through developing long-term relationships with banks as primary network partners. The article further recognises the value of advice from banks as a substitute for entrepreneurial human capital, especially when bankers use private information to determine the nature and level of financial and non-financial assistance that they are prepared to supply to their clients.
This article explores how individual entrepreneurial orientation dimensions influence the relationship between competitive strategy and firm performance. The findings show the different impacts of individual entrepreneurial orientation dimensions on competitive strategy and the effects of cost leadership and differentiation on performance. Innovativeness is related most highly to differentiation strategy. Risk-taking and competitive aggressiveness are negatively associated with both differentiation and cost leadership strategies. Both differentiation and cost leadership strategies are positively related to performance. This study refines our understanding of the effects of entrepreneurial orientation on small firm performance.
This article critically evaluates the notion that strategic flexibility related to products, business relationships and networks is critical for international small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) attempting to differentiate their firms in foreign business relationships. A model is developed to investigate the interrelatedness of these types of flexibility and their discrete effects on business differentiation in foreign business relationships. It is used to analyse a dataset covering 314 Swedish SMEs; the types of flexibility investigated were found to have positive effects (direct and indirect) on differentiation in foreign business relationships.
This article critically analyses intersubjective negotiation in the context of the small firm employment relationship. Such employment relationships are acknowledged as largely ad hoc, contested and negotiated, producing mutual adjustment between owner-managers and employees. It presents detailed qualitative empirical material from three small professional service firms, arguing that explicit instances of formal or informal negotiations cannot be understood as discrete events disassociated from ongoing, everyday intersubjective negotiation. The employment relationship, especially in ambiguity-intensive small professional service firms, draws on the perception of the value or interests of other actors rather than on any direct engagement with them. This intersubjective guesswork underlying mutual adjustment is potentially dysfunctional as outcomes arise that satisfy neither owner-manager nor employee interests. The article suggests that understanding employment relationships in small professional service firms requires a greater focus on individual perceptions and the ways in which their relative positions are structured in intersubjective, mutual (mis)recognition.
This article develops a conceptual framework for addressing the relationship between over-optimism and entry into, and survival in, self-employed business ownership. Previous research has rarely examined over-optimism and the dynamics of business ownership. Using a large-scale British longitudinal survey, the relationship between over-optimism and self-employment transitions is investigated. The results show that over-optimism is associated with higher transition into business ownership. However, over-optimism at the point of entry is also associated with lower rates of subsequent duration in business ownership, despite the possibility that exits may be slowed by threshold inertia and non-financial motives for remaining self-employed.
Policies to stimulate enterprise in deprived areas typically attempt to remove the specific obstacles faced by firms in deprived locations. Yet there is little evidence that firms in deprived areas actually perceive different problems to those in more affluent places. Alternatively, different types of firms may locate in deprived places. This article uses a sample of 7670 English SMEs to investigate this issue. It asks two questions: Do firms in deprived areas perceive different barriers to success than other firms? And is this because of their location (a ‘place’ effect) or other characteristics (a ‘firm’ effect)? We find only limited evidence that ‘place’ effects are in operation: of nine potential obstacles only a lack of access to finance is significant, controlling for other firm characteristics. However, this finding may be important given that firms in deprived areas are equally likely to be growth orientated.
This article presents findings from 14 in-depth interviews looking into the motivations and challenges of intermediaries and entrepreneurs engaged in the formation of a networking group for the information and communication technologies sector. The findings show that issues around communication and expectations exist and that the mechanisms used to address this problem create an environment that promotes a short term perspective, overlooking the importance of social relations. To overcome these issues, it is important that policymakers and entrepreneurs work in partnership to ensure resources are targeted appropriately and in a way that is conducive to supporting an entrepreneurial environment in the long term.
With growing public and private support of networks of small and medium-sized firms, many networks rely on network boards to ensure effective governance. By integrating agency and embeddedness reasoning, this article argues that network board composition aimed at effective monitoring may be at the cost of lost ability to strategize. In this study, longitudinal data of Swedish government-supported innovation networks demonstrate that network innovation improves as network board size increases, but that returns to such increases diminish when boards become overly large. Similarly, network board independence is beneficial up to a certain threshold, after which further increases in independence become detrimental. The study clarifies how agency and embeddedness theory can be combined to explain boards’ abilities to combine monitoring and strategizing at the network level in increasing the levels of network innovation.
This article explores the political signification of the term entrepreneur in UK parliamentary debates over the past forty years. Following a review of the literature, a need is identified to understand the construction of the entrepreneur in political discourse. Concern here is not with the prosaic cataloguing of policies or definitions, but with exploring shifts in the discursive constructs of the entrepreneur that underlie political practice. To explore these constructions a large longitudinal dataset is systematically condensed, while maintaining sensitivity to the nuances of meaning. A corpus-based linguistics approach is undertaken. This combines the computational analysis of significant collocates, that is important words (concepts) that surround the term entrepreneur, with the richness of qualitative analysis. Patterns of reification, agency and structure are identified in the portrayed entrepreneurial constructs. The philosophical and practical implications of these patterns are discussed and proposals are made for using corpus techniques in international comparative analyses.
The economic crisis has accentuated the social and economic dislocation experienced by disadvantaged communities at a time of unprecedented political and public interest in philanthropy. This has concentrated attention on the contribution that philanthropists might make in addressing socio-economic challenges, and on the role that social innovation might play in regenerating communities. This article adds to the literature on social innovation and social entrepreneurship that aims to integrate theory and empirical practice. By examining social innovation through the lens of a case study of the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, the article sheds light on how the sites and spaces of socially innovative philanthropic projects may have a bearing on their success; attention is drawn to the importance of community engagement on the part of social innovators, and the power of self-organization in re-embedding communities. It suggests that storytelling by committed philanthropists may serve as a powerful proselytizing tool for recruiting new donors.
A new educational approach to sustainable development is emerging in the entrepreneurship literature. However, because business schools encourage a ‘profit-first mentality’, critics question their ability to deliver sustainability-related education programmes. This article adapts the theory of planned behaviour to examine attitudes to an entrepreneurial form of sustainability education. The relationship between nascent entrepreneurs’ intentions to exploit learning and the extent of a profit-first mentality is examined. The study utilises data from 257 nascent entrepreneurs participating in a business start-up programme. Structural equation modelling is used to test a series of hypotheses which examine links between sustainability education and nascent entrepreneurs’ attitudes. The results indicate a strong relationship between perception of learning benefits and intentions of nascent entrepreneurs to exploit those benefits. Although a profit-first mentality is negatively related to perceptions of benefit, learning itself is not affected. The results have implications for research, policy and the practice of entrepreneurship education.
This article examines the experiences of women who establish new ventures in order to combine income generation with childcare responsibilities. Based on interviews with 20 ‘mumpreneurs’, we examined career narratives to show how these women described the transition to entrepreneurship and their experiences of this new mode of working. The findings suggest that the women weave a path between the discourses of intensive mothering and enterprise. Becoming self-employed was deemed preferable to being perceived as a housewife as it enabled identification with a discourse of intensive mothering, facilitating far greater engagement with children than was possible during previous corporate lives. However, the findings revealed tensions which required individualized strategies to address excessive working hours and constrain business growth.
Since the growth of the ‘born global’ concept, much of the established literature has tended to overlook the development of its characteristics outside high technology sectors. To further enhance our understanding of this phenomenon, this article draws on the ‘born global’ literature to identify common internationalization behaviours with which rapidly internationalizing firms are involved. Six propositions are developed related to the key dimensions of pace, scale and pattern of firm internationalization. The results from a comprehensive case study of four non-high-tech Australian ‘born global’ firms suggest that entrepreneurial interpretation is a factor in determining the pace with which a firm internationalizes. Other key implications include the importance of product imitability in assessing the extent of a firm’s international operations, the significance of psychic distance in the assessment of prospective international markets, and that entry mode choice is influenced by the prevailing trends established in each firm’s industry and the need to maximize its internal resources.
This article addresses the under-researched issue of risk management (RM) and risk management capability building in small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs). It draws upon theories of social capital to explain enablers and obstacles for RM capability building and practice sharing in a small and medium-sized construction enterprise in China. Two related propositions are made: first, RM capability is built by SMEs without formal structures and knowledge; and second, such firms are more likely to adopt informal processes to develop RM capability. The article concludes that the role of cognitive capital is the most important for the RM capability building of SMEs and that cognitive capital plays a crucial role in accumulating structural and relational capital. It proposes a model of cognitive capital-based RM capability building in which integrates communication, knowledge, relationship and learning.
In order to extend understanding of the drivers that underlie entrepreneurial intention formation, this article investigates the hitherto underexplored roles of people’s learning orientation and passion for work. It considers how these personal characteristics may moderate the instrumentality of their perceived ability to become a successful entrepreneur, and perceptions of the attractiveness of becoming an entrepreneur. Using a survey of 946 university students, it finds that learning orientation and passion for work invigorate the role of these feasibility and desirability considerations in enhancing entrepreneurial intention. A follow-up analysis reveals that the moderating effects of learning orientation and passion for work on the perceived attractiveness–entrepreneurial intention relationship are stronger to the extent that people value the intrinsic goal of autonomy in their future career more, but these moderating effects are immune to the importance of the extrinsic goal of earning financial rewards. Several implications for research and practice emerge.
Drawing on the concepts of ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘dynamic’ capabilities, this study examines the capabilities that allow small firms to operate as suppliers to large organizations in the public and private sectors. Interest in this topic is fuelled by academic speculation about the extent to which such supply chain relationships can facilitate the growth of small firms and by current policy initiatives to promote small firm-friendly procurement practices. Based on the evidence from 18 small firms, the study shows how entrepreneurial and a variety of dynamic capabilities are intertwined in subtle and complex ways, and how the development of one shapes and is shaped by the development and use of the other. In doing so, the article contributes to identifying small firm capabilities that together underpin a higher-order dynamic capability required to supply large firms and to the debate on the nature and types of such capabilities.
The primary aim of this article is to critically analyse the development of Six Sigma theory and practice within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using a multiple case study approach. The article also explores the subsequent development of Lean Six Sigma as a means of addressing the perceived limitations of the efficacy of Six Sigma in this context. The overarching theoretical framework is that of absorptive capacity, where Six Sigma is conceptualized as new knowledge to be absorbed by smaller firms. The findings from a multiple case study involving repeat interviews and focus groups informed the development of an analytical model demonstrating the dynamic underlying routines for the absorptive capacity process and the development of a number of summative propositions relating the characteristics of SMEs to Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma implementation.