Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

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  • Entrepreneurship in digital platforms: A network‐centric view

    Research summary Research on entrepreneurship has focused primarily on the individual characteristics of founders in driving the success of new ventures offering stand‐alone products and/or services. In recent years, we have seen an increase in entrepreneurship in digital platforms—where success requires positioning products and services within dynamic digital networks that depict complex connections among platforms, complementary modules, and consumers. This article introduces key elements of a theory for settings where entrepreneurship success is intricately connected to the moves of other entrepreneurs and coordinated within and across platforms. We introduce a network‐centric view to understand how entrepreneurs occupying the role of third‐party developers support digital platforms by their choices to link to them. Furthermore, we develop propositions reflecting a dynamic perspective representing two key stages of competition in digital platforms, initial launch, and scale‐up. We hope this work guides further theorizing and empirical research in digital platforms and entrepreneurship in general. Managerial summary Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in digital entrepreneurs who support platforms such as Apple iOS, Google's Android, Facebook, Twitter, and others. The success of platforms requires support from applications, and entrepreneurs in such settings play a critical role in making some platforms succeed relative to others. Our study provides insight into how digital entrepreneurs can orchestrate strategic moves that allow them to navigate the complex landscape of linking and adapting to different platforms and how these linkage choices can lead to entrepreneurial success.

  • Issue Information ‐ TOC
  • Accelerator expertise: Understanding the intermediary role of accelerators in the development of the Bangalore entrepreneurial ecosystem

    Research Summary: To understand the intermediary role of accelerators in the developing regional entrepreneurial ecosystem of Bangalore, we analyze data from 54 interviews with accelerator graduates, accelerator managers, and other ecosystem stakeholders and from 49 websites, 13 online video interviews, 26 online news sources, and 301 pages of policy documents. Specifically, we adopt a socially situated entrepreneurial cognition approach to theorize how accelerator expertise, existing at a meso‐level, intermediates between (micro‐level) founders and the (macro‐level) ecosystem. In our model, four types of accelerator expertise—connection, development, coordination, and selection—together increase stakeholders’ commitment to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, leading to venture validation (success or failure) and ecosystem additionality. These findings indicate that accelerators contribute to ecosystems in a way that is distinct from, but supportive of, building individual ventures. Managerial Summary: Accelerators are a new form of entrepreneurial support organization. These organizations typically focus on developing individual start‐ups, but we find that they also help develop entrepreneurial ecosystems. They do so by acting as a bridge between start‐ups and the broader entrepreneurial environmental resources by: (a) helping form connections, (b) helping develop individual start‐ups, (c) helping coordinate the right match among the various players in the ecosystem, and (d) helping select mentors and founders with the appropriate motivation and knowledge. As these accelerators apply this expertise in this go‐between role, they help build commitment to the broader ecosystem. Furthermore, they enable success (or fast failure) of individual start‐ups and do so in a way that develops the overall entrepreneurial capacity of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  • How entrepreneurial ecosystems take form: Evidence from social impact initiatives in Seattle

    Research Summary: This research uses insights from field theory to explore the early moments of how entrepreneurial ecosystems form through everyday interactions. We examine the cultural‐cognitive and material micro‐dynamics of activities occurring in support of social impact entrepreneurs and businesses from 2000 to 2014 in the Seattle, Washington, region using archival and interview data sources. The pattern of results about what actors do and how interactions change over time supports a two‐period model of ecosystem formation where initial distributed and disparate activity undergoes a phase transition to coalesce into a more coordinated and integrated social order. The findings point to endogenous sources of structuring, including language and interaction, rather than exogenous sources such as government action or instrumental policy goals. Managerial Summary: How do the ecosystems that support entrepreneurs form? Rather than being created through top‐down actions of governments and other powerful actors, we argue that entrepreneurial ecosystems form through the everyday interactions of individuals striving to create shared meaning, resources, and infrastructure needed to support their new ventures. This is especially true in ecosystems focused on creating social impact, which do not always offer the high returns expected in a market‐based capitalistic system. Our study shows how the initial activities of distributed, disparate individuals and groups rather suddenly coalesce into more coordinated, integrated, and durable patterns of social interaction, creating the methods, resources, and legitimacy needed for an entrepreneurial ecosystem for social impact businesses to coexist with or change existing conventions of market‐based capitalism.

  • Entrepreneurial resourcefulness in unstable institutional contexts: The example of European Union borderlands

    Research Summary: This article advances our understanding of entrepreneurial resourcefulness in unstable institutional contexts, which are characterized by resource constraints and institutional changes but are rich in intangible resources of a sociocultural nature. Drawing on qualitative data of individuals engaged in informal cross‐border activities in EU borderlands, we theorize resourcefulness along two core dimensions: continuity and change in relation to sociocultural, spatial, and institutional conditions and development and coping as outcomes. We identify six configurations of resourcefulness patterns and outcomes that extend current understandings of the variations in how individuals interact with their contexts, offering a nuanced view of resourcefulness. Managerial Summary: This article aims to understand entrepreneurial resourceful behavior in contexts characterized by difficult economic conditions and institutional changes. We use qualitative data of individuals involved in informal cross‐border activities in EU borderlands that have undergone the collapse of communism and EU enlargement rounds. The data shows that resourcefulness relies on continuity, reflected in previous skills and networks, family and friends, or common cultural understandings and change, as resourcefulness where individuals implicitly or explicitly challenge the new border regulations. Individuals' resourcefulness translates into “coping” outcomes, as in achieving a minimal income to maintain the current way of life and/or to sustain social relationships and “development” outcomes, whereby individuals earn more income and improve their business activities.

  • Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems

    Research Summary: Entrepreneurial ecosystems command increasing attention from policy makers, academics, and practitioners, yet the phenomenon itself remains under‐theorized. Specifically, the conceptual similarities and differences of entrepreneurial ecosystems relative to, for instance, clusters, “knowledge clusters,” regional systems of innovation, and “innovative milieus” remain unclear. Drawing on research on industrial districts and agglomerations, clusters, and systems of innovation, we suggest that entrepreneurial ecosystems differ from traditional clusters by their emphasis on the exploitation of digital affordances; by their organization around entrepreneurial opportunity discovery and pursuit; by their emphasis on business model innovation; by voluntary horizontal knowledge spillovers; and by cluster‐external locus of entrepreneurial opportunities. We highlight how these distinctive characteristics set entrepreneurial ecosystems apart from other cluster types, propose a structural model of entrepreneurial ecosystems, summarize the articles in this special issue, and suggest promising avenues for future research. Managerial Summary: Entrepreneurial ecosystems command increasing attention from policy makers, academics, and practitioners. We suggest that entrepreneurial ecosystems differ from traditional clusters by their emphasis on the exploitation of digital affordances; by their organization around entrepreneurial opportunity discovery and pursuit; by their emphasis on business model innovation; by voluntary horizontal knowledge spillovers; and by cluster‐external locus of entrepreneurial opportunities. We highlight how these distinctive characteristics set entrepreneurial ecosystems apart from regional cluster phenomena discussed in received economic geography and innovation literatures. We suggest policy makers need to adopt novel approaches to stimulate entrepreneurial ecosystems that differ from those in place to develop industrial clusters or support already established small‐ and medium‐sized companies.

  • Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems

    Research Summary: Entrepreneurial ecosystems have recently emerged as a popular concept within entrepreneurship policy and practitioner communities. Specifically, they are seen as a regional economic development strategy that is based around creating supportive environments that foster innovative start‐ups. However, existing research on entrepreneurial ecosystems has been largely typological and atheoretical and has not yet explored how they influence the entrepreneurship process. This article critically examines the relationships between ecosystems and other existing literatures such as clusters and regional innovation systems. Drawing on this background, the article suggests that a process‐based view of ecosystems provides a better framework to understand their role in supporting new venture creation. This framework is used to explain the evolution and transformation of entrepreneurial ecosystems and to create a typology of different ecosystem structures. Managerial Summary: Entrepreneurial ecosystems are a new buzzword within research and managerial circles. They represent the types of cultural, social, economic, and political environments within a region that support high‐growth entrepreneurship. But current research does little more than look at successful ecosystems to identify best practices. This article examines what we know about entrepreneurial ecosystems and links them with existing theories like clusters and regional innovation systems. We argue that successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurship within an ecosystem generates critical entrepreneurial resources like investment capital, skilled workers, and entrepreneurial knowledge. This, in turn, supports future high‐growth venture creation. The types of resources available in an ecosystem and the ability of these resources to flow through social networks helps separate strong, well‐functioning ecosystems from weak, poorly functioning ones.

  • On the relationship between inequality and entrepreneurship

    Research Summary We reexamine and explore the modern view of inequality against entrepreneurial market process theories, which leads us to three key assertions. First, we question the validity of income inequality as a proxy for true inequality (i.e., inequality of individual well‐being), observing nonlinearity between the two constructs. Second, we explore the entrepreneurial microfoundations of growing and shrinking inequality in market societies, arguing that individual inequality is primarily the outcome of abnormal gains from disequilibrating creative destructive processes. These shifts are temporary, however, as equilibrating (arbitraging) entrepreneurship competes away monopoly profits. Growing inequality trends, then, are seen primarily as the result of increasingly large, but also shorter, waves of creative destruction. Finally, we reconsider the issue of the injustice of inequality through this market process lens. Managerial summary We contribute three arguments to the debate over economic inequality. We are (or ought to be) concerned over differences in individual well‐being, not income. Studies of income inequality can be misleading. We argue that a key and so far overlooked source of economic inequality is entrepreneurship. Disruptive entrepreneurship (via innovation) redistributes economic resources away from the present industry, reallocating them in a more unequal redistribution, with the successful disruptor capturing an unequal share of resources. Imitative entrepreneurship, however, tends to mitigate this inequality, competing away abnormal profits while expanding new products’ diffusion among consumers. Finally, we observe that economic inequality may not be as unjust as previously thought, and we caution against corrective policy that might inhibit entrepreneurship.

  • Journal information ‐ JIF
  • Entrepreneurial Orientation, Legitimation, and New Venture Performance

    Research summary We integrate research on entrepreneurial orientation and new venture legitimacy. To create value from an entrepreneurial orientation, firms need to possess necessary resources and capabilities, which new ventures often lack due to their liability of newness. We posit that legitimation helps overcome these constraints by enabling new ventures to acquire necessary resources and develop essential capabilities, and argue that entrepreneurial orientation and legitimation jointly enhance new venture performance. We analyzed data on 149 new ventures and found support for this argument. This study opens new research avenues by extending and incorporating explanations and predictions of entrepreneurial orientation and legitimation, two areas that largely have been considered as independent of each other. Managerial summary In the absence of a clear connection between legitimacy and economic returns, entrepreneurs and managers may not give strategic priority to legitimation. We find that new ventures with an entrepreneurial orientation as demonstrated by innovative, proactive, and risk‐taking decisions and behaviors can achieve superior performance if they also actively undertake legitimation efforts to meet stakeholders’ cognitive, regulative, and normative expectations. This study suggests that neglecting legitimation as an important competitive tool may be a greater mistake than previously has been realized, especially for new ventures with an entrepreneurial orientation. Copyright © 2017 Strategic Management Society

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