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A multi-level process view of new venture emergence

Multi-Level Issues in Creativity and Innovation

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1476-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-553-6

ISSN: 1475-9144

Publication date: 25 March 2008


Entrepreneurship research has grown in both quality and quantity over the past decade, as many theoretical innovations and important empirical research findings have been introduced to the field. However, theoretical approaches to understanding entrepreneurship remain fragmented, and empirical findings are unstable across different contexts. This chapter describes features of a multi-level process view of new venture emergence that adds coherence to the entrepreneurship theory jungle and brings order to idiosyncratic empirical results, by explaining how ideas become organized into new ventures. The centerpiece of this effort is enactment theory, a general process approach specifically developed to explain organizing processes. Enactment theory – and Campbellian evolutionary theorizing more generally – has a long history of use within and across multiple levels of analysis. Consequently, the description here illustrates how organizing unfolds across multiple levels of analysis and multiple phases of development. After describing the theorizing assumptions and multi-level process view of new venture organizing, the chapter explores implications of applying this perspective by suggesting new research directions and interpretations of prior work. The aim is to advocate process theorizing as a more productive approach to understanding new venture emergence.


Ford, C.M. and Sullivan, D.M. (2008), "A multi-level process view of new venture emergence", Mumford, M.D., Hunter, S.T. and Bedell-Avers, K.E. (Ed.) Multi-Level Issues in Creativity and Innovation (Research in Multi-Level Issues, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 423-470.



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