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Emerging Theories of Entrepreneurial Behavior in Uncertain and Resource Constrained Environments

2016

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In the contemporary turbulent and constantly changing economic environments, it is difficult to predict the outcomes of an action and thus plan the societal, organizational end entrepreneurial goals beforehand. Certainly for a reason, in recent years, several different perspectives describing entrepreneurial behavior in uncertain and resource constrained environments have come to challenge the more traditional business plan- oriented, and goal – based perspectives in entrepreneurship. These theories explain “creative process in general and entrepreneurship in particular” (Sarasvathy 2008) and “shed light on the processes by which firms generate heterogeneous value from ostensibly identical resources” (Baker & Nelson 2005) as well as to how “to create innovative solutions within structural constraints using limited resources and imaginative problem solving” (Lampel, Honig & Drori 2014). Miner & Moorman (1998) and Miner, Bassof & Moorman (2001) also link improvisation closely to organizational learning, hence in addition to new venture creation, these theories shed light also to the processes of renewal in existing organizations. A recent perspective on founder identity as well has come to suggest that also founder identity might stand in a meaningful role in answering adversities (Powell & Baker 2014). The perspectives describing entrepreneurial behavior in uncertain and resource constrained environments relate to the conference theme, “Making Organizations Meaningful” in several ways. First of all, these perspectives are at the very heart of the action and meaningfulness, by researching and explaining entrepreneurial behavior. Second, these perspectives have striven to explain how enactment in organizations transforms objects, resources, goals and even thoughts in small steps. However, the overlaps, complementarities and for that matter, research gaps between and across these perspectives are not yet thoroughly explored by entrepreneurship researchers. Thus this symposium seeks to ignite the discussion in order to broaden it from e.g. Fisher (2012) by bringing along together more emerging theoretical perspectives explaining entrepreneurial behavior under uncertain and/ or resource constraints. This symposium seeks to clarify the overlaps and complementarities of the published theories on entrepreneurial ingenuity, entrepreneurial bricolage, effectuation, and improvisation as well as other possibly emerging concepts. The aim is to start a discussion in order to establish clearer boundaries and offer future research guidelines around these different conceptualizations.

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