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Entrepreneurial opportunities as propensities: Do Ramoglou & Tsang move the field forward?

2016

Per Davidsson

Abstract Ramoglou & Tsang’s (R&T) article “A realist perspective of entrepreneurship: Opportunities as propensities” is a recent, potentially influential addition to the literature on “entrepreneurial opportunities”. This short communication argues that R&T’s intellectual exercise largely fails to move matters forward on the two most central problems with prior research on “entrepreneurial opportunities”, namely 1) lack of construct clarity and 2) slow progress regarding how characteristics of “entrepreneurial opportunities” give shape to entrepreneurial action and outcomes. I suggest that entrepreneurship researchers should avoid the detour of conceptually dichotomizing complex and empirically non-tractable sets of external circumstances into “opportunities” vs. “non-opportunities” and instead direct attention to multi-dimensional and continuous variation in “those [evolving] entities which entrepreneurs actually evaluate and [sometimes] act upon” (and which should not be mislabeled as “opportunities”). For this endeavor, the notion of “agency-intensity” is the primary take-away from R&T’s study.

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