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Discerning Opportunity Types: Implications for Entrepreneurial Action and Entrepreneurship Education

In: Innovative Pathways for University Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century


  • Matthew Wood
  • Chris Welter
  • Kendall Artz
  • Steven W. Bradley


Entrepreneurship research has paid little attention to variance in entrepreneurial opportunities, instead choosing to treat them as homogenous. Thus, the field has failed to acknowledge that there are significant variations in means–ends conceptualizations giving rise to different types of opportunities. Further, researchers and educators have not fully considered that the type of opportunity being pursued has implications for which entrepreneurial actions are required to realize a successful outcome. We address these issues in this chapter by distinguishing means–ends combinations such that four types of opportunities – replication, reinterpretation, revelation, and revolution – are introduced. This matrix leads to propositions regarding differing actions that would be emphasized as a function of the type opportunity under consideration (e.g., legitimacy building, knowledge assimilation, market demand, and resource acquisition). The net effect is an improved understanding of how variations in means–ends conceptualizations influence how entrepreneurs interpret their particular opportunity, which in turn drives the actions they take as they attempt to turn their vision into reality. This improved understanding has important implications for entrepreneurship education and we suggests a number of possible changes to pedagogy that flow from our framework. We believe that these changes will bring added richness and value to the classroom.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Wood & Chris Welter & Kendall Artz & Steven W. Bradley, 2014. "Discerning Opportunity Types: Implications for Entrepreneurial Action and Entrepreneurship Education," Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, in: Sherry Hoskinson & Donald F. Kuratko (ed.),Innovative Pathways for University Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century, volume 24, pages 119-144, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aseizz:s1048-473620140000024005

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