Entrepreneurial learning; intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing

Dermot Breslin (Department of Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Publication date: 24 July 2019



Despite an increasing number of publications focusing on the phenomenon of entrepreneurial learning, it is still unclear how this learning process differs from wider organizational learning. This paper aims to address this gap by highlighting four key processual dimensions unique to entrepreneurial learning: intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing.


Drawing on various conceptual and empirical papers published in this area over the past 20 years, common threads in the literature are identified, which point towards these four key dimensions of entrepreneurial learning.


It is thus argued that the ability of the entrepreneurial team to learn form and adapt to changes in the external market involves all four dimensions of intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing. Intuiting involves drawing on prior knowledge to create new opportunity sets, and skills. These ideas and skills are then tested in the market, through scanning and market research. Internalizing allows the entrepreneurial team to question taken for granted assumptions, as existing ways of working and views of the world are continually adapted. Finally, routinization is the process whereby the entrepreneurial team accumulates a situated knowledge of the changing world around them, and in the process, frees up valuable cognitive resources, needed in the continual process of intuiting, scanning and internalizing.


It is argued that the adaptability of entrepreneurial ventures hinges on all four processual dimensions.



Breslin, D. (2019), "Entrepreneurial learning; intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing", The Learning Organization, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-04-2018-0054

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