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Outlines of a behavioral theory of the entrepreneurial firm

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  • Dew, Nicholas
  • Read, Stuart
  • Sarasvathy, Saras D.
  • Wiltbank, Robert
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    Abstract

    In A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (BTF), Cyert and March [Cyert, R.M., March, J.G., 1963. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ] present a clutch of ideas for explaining the behavior of established firms within an environment of well-defined markets, stakeholder relationships, technologies, and so on. In this paper, we outline a behavioral theory of the entrepreneurial firm that emphasizes transforming environments rather than acting within extant ones. In particular, we explicate three ideas that parallel key concepts in BTF: (1) accumulating stakeholder commitments under goal ambiguity (in line with a political conception of goals), (2) achieving control (as opposed to managing expectations) through non-predictive strategies, and (3) predominately exaptive (rather than adaptive) orientation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (April)
    Pages: 37-59

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:37-59

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

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    References

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    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
    2. Jacob Goldenberg & Donald R. Lehmann & David Mazursky, 2001. "The Idea Itself and the Circumstances of Its Emergence as Predictors of New Product Success," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 69-84, January.
    3. S. Klepper & S. Sleeper, 2002. "Entry by Spinoffs," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2002-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
    4. Nicholas Dew & S. Sarasvathy & S. Venkataraman, 2004. "The economic implications of exaptation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 69-84, January.
    5. Gino Cattani, 2006. "Technological pre-adaptation, speciation, and emergence of new technologies: how Corning invented and developed fiber optics," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 285-318, April.
    6. Jerker Denrell & Christina Fang & Sidney Winter, 2003. "The Economics of Strategic Opportunity," LEM Papers Series 2003/10, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    7. James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
    8. Buchanan, James M. & Vanberg, Viktor J., 1991. "The Market as a Creative Process," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 167-186, October.
    9. Herbert A. Simon, 1992. "Altruism and Economics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 73-83, Winter.
    10. Martin L. Weitzman, 1995. "Recombinant Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1722, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    11. Sarasvathy, Saras D., 2003. "Entrepreneurship as a science of the artificial," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 203-220, April.
    12. Levinthal, Daniel A, 1998. "The Slow Pace of Rapid Technological Change: Gradualism and Punctuation in Technological Change," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 217-47, June.
    13. Saras Sarasvathy & Nicholas Dew, 2005. "New market creation through transformation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 533-565, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Harris, Jared D. & Sapienza, Harry J. & Bowie, Norman E., 2009. "Ethics and entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 407-418, September.
    2. Grichnik, Dietmar & Smeja, Alexander & Welpe, Isabell, 2010. "The importance of being emotional: How do emotions affect entrepreneurial opportunity evaluation and exploitation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 15-29, October.

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