A General Theory of Entrepreneurship

A General Theory of Entrepreneurship

The Individual-Opportunity Nexus

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Scott Shane

In the first exhaustive treatment of the field in 20 years, Scott Shane extends the analysis of entrepreneurship by offering an overarching conceptual framework that explains the different parts of the entrepreneurial process – the opportunities, the people who pursue them, the skills and strategies used to organize and exploit opportunities, and the environmental conditions favorable to them – in a coherent way.

Chapter 11: Conclusions

Scott Shane

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


As I explained in Chapter 1, entrepreneurship is one of the most popular, but least understood aspects of business. Given the level of interest devoted to the topic, one might think that the academic field of entrepreneurship would have a deep understanding of the phenomenon, and a well-established intellectual framework to explain it. In reality, however, no coherent conceptual framework has yet emerged to integrate the field. The purpose of this book was to outline the individual–opportunity nexus (Eckhardt and Shane, 2003; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Venkataraman, 1997) as a conceptual framework for the field of entrepreneurship, and to provide empirical support for the various propositions that emerge from this framework. Moreover, this book sought to develop a comprehensive explanation for entrepreneurship. Rather than focusing on only one part of the entrepreneurial process – such as the characteristics of the entrepreneurs themselves; the opportunities to which they respond; their strategies, their acquisition of resources; or their organizing processes – without consideration for whether the explanations that offered have any explanatory power for, or even relationship to, other parts of the entrepreneurial process, the perspective outlined here provides a framework for the field. Specifically, the book examined the characteristics of opportunities; the individuals who discover and exploit them; the processes of resource acquisition and organizing; and the strategies used to exploit and protect the profits from those efforts. It also outlined the relationships between the different parts of the entrepreneurial process discussed in each chapter, and provided evidence for the arguments presented....

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