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Do You See What I Mean? An Entrepreneurship Perspective on the Nature and Boundaries of the Firm


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  • Ivo Zander
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    In answering the questions 'why does the firm exist?' and 'what determines its boundaries?', established theories of the firm have focused on boundary choice in a context of relatively easily identified and evaluated alternatives. This paper starts by asking the kindred question 'why does the firm come into existence?', shifting attention to the circumstances and choices surrounding new firm formation and the exploitation of new and untried business ideas. It proceeds to delineate an entrepreneurship perspective on the nature and boundaries of the firm, where boundary decisions are driven by the difficulty of implementing new, subjective means-ends frameworks in sometimes very unreceptive markets. A set of propositions developing the concepts of cognitive incongruence and cognitive incompleteness suggests that activities are internalized when other market participants are unable to accept or understand the entrepreneur's subjectively perceived means-ends framework. In conclusion, the paper supports the development of theory that explains choice of modes of action based on subjective world views and the emerging notion of a distinctive entrepreneurship-based theory of the firm. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2007.

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 7 (November)
    Pages: 1141-1164

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:44:y:2007:i:7:p:1141-1164

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    Cited by:
    1. Vladi Finotto & Anna Moretti, 2014. "Unveiling the founder effect: a conceptual framework of entrepreneurial imprinting," Working Papers 7, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    2. Thierry BURGER-HELMCHEN, 2008. "Plural-entrepreneurial activity for a single start-up: a case study," Working Papers of BETA 2008-01, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Ljungquist, Urban & Ghannad, Navid, 2012. "Obstacles and Facilitators of Developments in Entrepreneur-driven Firms," CITR Working Paper Series 2012/01, Center for Innovation and Technology Research, Blekinge Institute of Technology.


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