Entrepreneurial Strategic Content: Volume 11


Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Entrepreneurial firms are vital to economic growth because they bring creative insights and unique capabilities to the marketplace. The content of entrepreneurial firm strategies reflect the unique opportunities that the technological breakthroughs, operational efficiencies, and/or marketing genius of entrepreneurial firms bring into existence. Entrepreneurial firms are at the forefront of creating new classes of products and services, and sometimes even new industries. With them, they often bring new methods of competing. Volume 11 identifies several strategic dilemmas and strategic choices that organizations face in their efforts to be more entrepreneurial. It concludes with a lively debate between well-known scholars regarding the best ways to advance entrepreneurship as a scholarly field.

While extant entry theory has long prescribed a niche approach for new ventures, a preponderance of empirical research has found that broad strategies may be the key to new venture success. This study examines the difference between entry theory and empirical evidence by considering the moderating impact of initial financial resources on the effectiveness of venture strategy. Examining new, independent firms at the point of inception, we find that initial financial resources moderate the relationship between strategic breadth and performance, implying that the returns to a broad initial strategy increase with the level of initial capital. Contrary to popular niche prescriptions for new ventures, we did not find support for the belief that firms with low initial financial resources should pursue niche strategies and suggest that it may be time to re-examine theory on the nature of the relationship between entry strategies and performance.

Adopting a knowledge-based view of the firm, this chapter explores how different contents of firm-level entrepreneurship may influence performance of SMEs in moderately dynamic industries, which represent the bulk of economic activity in several countries. More specifically, this study aims, first, at identifying what types of entrepreneurial behavior – new-market entry, new-product development, diversification – are more suitable in order to survive and prosper in industries characterized by moderate growth and dynamism. Second, the analysis aims at assessing whether knowledge sharing is to be promoted in order to successfully compete in these industries. Third, the study aims at identifying which type of knowledge – market knowledge or technology knowledge – is most needed to develop entrepreneurial behavior and performance in low-growth industrial contexts. Following a knowledge-driven approach, we propose a view on corporate renewal that may complement current streams of research focused on large firms in high-velocity settings. Emerging results contribute to advancing the literature on entrepreneurial renewal by providing both an investigation of such behaviors within an industrial setting different from the high-growth, high-technology industries in which investigations have been conducted so far, and by suggesting that rich insights may be gained by investigating entrepreneurial recombinations within smaller firms that operate in less-dynamic contexts.

Young/small firms are often seen as acquisition targets, but rarely viewed as potential acquirers. However, in this study we found that one-third of the young ventures in our sample pursued aggressive growth though acquisition of their competitors. Furthermore, contrary to conventional wisdom, we found striking evidence that young firms pursuing growth via acquisition significantly outperformed their peers who pursued growth via internal development. Thus, growth via acquisition clearly represents a viable strategic option for young, small firms.

Research on strategy in new ventures has increasingly drawn upon resource-based theory, and thus has emphasized intangible factors that confer sustainable competitive advantage. These include dynamic and combinative capabilities, networks, routines, and knowledge as resources of new ventures. Yet antecedent to every one of these intangible resources is the management of the venture. But research has seldom considered management and the human resources of new ventures as a critical dimension of strategy content. This paper develops such an argument, and explores the performance contribution of human resources as strategy content in a longitudinal study of technology new ventures.

Despite an increase in businesses started by celebrities, we have limited understanding as to how celebrity entrepreneurs benefit new ventures. Drawing on a reputational capital perspective, we develop the notion of celebrity capital and show how it can be used to uniquely differentiate the venture and to overcome liabilities of newness. We discuss how celebrity capital can negatively influence the venture when negative information about the celebrity surfaces and in terms of limiting the scope of the venture. We discuss the different strategic implications of celebrity capital for ventures using celebrity entrepreneurs versus endorsers.

Changes in the environment, including increased environmental complexity, require military supply units to employ a more adaptive strategy in order to enhance military agility. We extend the Lumpkin and Dess (1996) model and develop propositions that explore the interrelationships between/amongst entrepreneurial orientation (EO); opportunity recognition, evaluation and exploitation; environmental and organizational factors; and organizational performance. We propose that the innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking dimensions of EO are of primary importance in identifying adaptive solutions and that these relationships are moderated by environmental factors. The autonomy and competitive aggressiveness dimensions of EO are important in implementing solutions as adaptive strategies, especially in a military context, and these relationships are moderated by organizational factors. This chapter extends existing theory developed primarily for the civilian sector to the military. Military organizations are more rigid hierarchical structures, and have different measures of performance. At an applied level, this research provides insights for military commanders that can potentially enhance agility and adaptability.

Geographical relocation of ventures, together with rates of firm formation and closure, determine the entrepreneurial population dynamics of a region. However, venture migration has remained largely unaddressed by prior entrepreneurship scholars. This paper draws from theoretical frameworks and prior findings in the economic demography literature to explore policy and environmental determinants of regional venture migration rates, referred to as entrepreneurial transience. Using county-level data for the state of Ohio, we show that local taxation is an important driver of entrepreneurial transience. In particular, local income tax rates are found to be negatively related to subsequent net transience – i.e., venture migration deficits or surpluses. Local business property taxes also influence net transience, but the direction of their impact depends on the average income level in the locale.

Although a growing body of literature that we will discuss later in the paper gives evidence of changing perspectives on entrepreneurship – perspectives that reveal increasing emphasis on the collectivity – two troubling themes persist: (1) the “myth of the lonely only entrepreneur,” and (2) the supply versus demand perspectives on mass entrepreneurial activity. In the sections that follow, we briefly describe these perspectives and argue that they have long since overstayed their welcome.

In “The next wave of entrepreneurship research,” Schoonhoven and Romanelli (hereafter S&R, this volume) set forth a broad-gauge review of recent work in entrepreneurship. They challenge standard debates and focus on arguments and research that explore large-scale contextual variation in complex ecologies of entrepreneurship over time. Further, their review puts networks and teams, communities of expertise and knowledge, and collective activity at the center of new directions for entrepreneurial research. They contend, in this paper and elsewhere, that the important questions going forward “concern the mass effects of entrepreneurial activity on the creation of new firms and industries, the pioneering of emerging markets, the evolution of existing industries, the development of regional economies, and even … the competitiveness of nations” (Schoonhoven & Romanelli, 2001, p. 383).

Publication date
Book series
Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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