This research expands the scope of the exploitation/exploration literature which has generally embraced a firm-level perspective by showing the theoretical and practical relevance of this framework for the study of entrepreneurial behaviour from an individual-level perspective. The study exemplifies specific instances where explorative or exploitative aspects of behaviour are likely to be manifested as a response to specific types of shocks that precede and impact the decision to quit and start one’s own business. Different types of shocks or entrepreneurial events displace the individual from the inertia of existing behaviour and pave the way for the consideration of a new set of opportunities; a new set of opportunities where entrepreneurial initiatives are perceived to be both feasible and desirable (exploitation–exploitation). Drawing upon 80 semi-structured and longitudinal interviews with entrepreneurs who quitted their ‘salaried job’ in order to start their own business, the study: (a) provides an inventory of events/shocks found to precipitate the interviewees’ decision to quit, and (b) links the various types of shocks with the prospective explorative and/or exploitative entrepreneurial initiatives. In this respect, the dynamics that underlie the effects of shocks on entrepreneurial behaviour are illustrated, while blurriness and interrelatedness of exploitative and explorative aspects of entrepreneurial behaviour are exemplified. Such a detailed list of shocks may serve as reference tool for both prospective entrepreneurs who wish to make an entrepreneurial shift in their career, as well as managers who wish to be proactive in avoiding or encouraging entrepreneurial employee turnover.
Voutsina, K., Mourmant, G. and Niederman, F. (2014), "The Range of Shocks Prompting Entrepreneurial Employee Turnover Through the Lenses of Exploration and Exploitation Framework", Exploration and Exploitation in Early Stage Ventures and SMEs (Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Competitive Strategy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 39-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-067X20140000014010Download as .RIS
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