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Entrepreneurial Orientation: do we actually know as much as we think we do?

2016

Kathleen Randerson

AbstractThe focus of this paper is on firm-level entrepreneurial behaviours and the processes that lead to them, known as Entrepreneurial Orientation. Despite the popularity of this construct, we argue that extant EO research suffers from major limitations linked to definitional inconsistencies and measurement issues. We present five distinct conceptualizations of EO in order to frame further research in the positivist mode. Moreover, we show that to gain a holistic and robust understanding of firm-level entrepreneurship, works from other research traditions and philosophies of science are needed. In this respect, the European research tradition and its wide variety of fields of research and research methods can offer a contextualized view of firm-level entrepreneurial behaviours and processes. Works embedded in the social constructionist philosophy of science might also offer an understanding of how, when, and why actors of different levels act do so and the likely outcomes of these actions as well as the interplay and divergence among these actors and levels. Works embedded in the pragmatic approach, illustrated by effectuation, could also contribute to a holistic understanding of the phenomenon. Finally, we call for researchers to be attentive to the need to align their conceptualizations, research methods and philosophies of science.

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