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Entrepreneur behaviors, opportunity recognition, and the origins of innovative ventures



This study traces the origins of innovative strategies by examining the attributes of ‘innovative entrepreneurs.’ In an inductive grounded theory study of innovative entrepreneurs, we develop a theory that innovative entrepreneurs differ from executives on four behavioral patterns through which they acquire information: (1) questioning; (2) observing; (3) experimenting; and (4) idea networking. We develop operational measures of each of these behaviors and find significant differences between innovative entrepreneurs and executives in a large sample survey of 72 successful and unsuccessful innovative entrepreneurs and 310 executives. Drawing on network theory, we develop a theory of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition that explains why these behaviors increase the probability of generating an idea for an innovative venture. We contend that one’s ability to generate novel ideas for innovative new businesses is a function of one’s behaviors that trigger cognitive processes to produce novel business ideas. We also posit that innovative entrepreneurs are less susceptible to the status quo bias and engage in these information-seeking behaviors with a motivation to change the status quo. Copyright © 2009 Strategic Management Society.

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