Are Opportunities Created By Micro-Entrepreneurs In Response To Other People?

Jordan, Josephine Eveline (2019). Are Opportunities Created By Micro-Entrepreneurs In Response To Other People? MRes thesis The Open University.



The proposition that entrepreneurial opportunity follows rather than precedes entrepreneurial action is hard to grasp but nonetheless has been a proposition central to entrepreneurship theory since Sarasvathy first described effectuation as a behavioural style of expert entrepreneurs at the turn of the millennium. In a first attempt to trace opportunity as it developed through entrepreneurial action, opportunity was traced through changes in entrepreneurial activity in a micro-enterprise with an intent of relating changes to social triggers. In a multi-method reconstruction of the timeline of a micro-enterprise, changes in entrepreneurial activity that are plausibly consistent with changes in opportunity were surprisingly easy to see but people were barely mentioned. Changes were also not remembered when asked directly even when having been described moments before. To separate the possibility that entrepreneurial experience was buffering the enterprise from disruptive change, the study was re-run with a less experienced entrepreneur. Once again, changes in entrepreneurial activity were easy to discern and this time many people were mentioned. But changes were again not remembered when asked directly and people were not associated with changes. Bringing the results of the two case studies together suggested that distinctive changes in entrepreneurial activity occur irregularly but around twice a year and changes are prompted endogenously rather than exogenously by direct feedback from people. It seemed almost as if changes occur when the potential of a plan of action drops below a comfortable level and entrepreneurs are encouraged to return to illuminating the means-ends in a situation to expand their horizons. To place this thinking in the context of Sarasvathy’s original work, the dissertation concludes by returning to the first principles of pragmatism and what it means to bring the future into the present.

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