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Unpacking the uncertainty construct: Implications for entrepreneurial action

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  • McKelvie, Alexander
  • Haynie, J. Michael
  • Gustavsson, Veronica
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    Abstract

    Uncertainty is central to entrepreneurship; however robust and generalizable findings that explain the conditions in which uncertainty may impede [or promote] entrepreneurial action remain elusive. We operationalize uncertainty as a multi-dimensional construct composed of state, effect, and response types of uncertainty (Milliken, 1987) to investigate the relationship between uncertainty and entrepreneurial action. We decompose more than 2800 exploitation decision policies nested within a sample of new product decision-makers working in entrepreneurial software firms. We focus on the primary decision-maker's willingness to exploit a given opportunity in the face of varying combinations and manifestations of uncertainty and find that the type of uncertainty experienced influences the willingness to engage in entrepreneurial action differently. Further, we find that differences in how each type of uncertainty is manifested in the environment, the scale of exploitation (i.e. large vs. small), and the entrepreneur's expertise serve to moderate the relationship between uncertainty and action in counter-intuitive ways. We discuss the implications for both theory and practice.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Venturing.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (May)
    Pages: 273-292

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:26:y:2011:i:3:p:273-292

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusvent

    Related research

    Keywords: Uncertainty Entrepreneurial action Opportunity exploitation Conjoint analysis;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Hanisch, David N. & Rau, Sabine B., 2014. "Application of metric conjoint analysis in family business research," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 72-84.
    2. Wood, Matthew S. & McKelvie, Alexander & Haynie, J. Michael, 2014. "Making it personal: Opportunity individuation and the shaping of opportunity beliefs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 252-272.

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