Entrepreneurship, People and Organisations

Entrepreneurship, People and Organisations

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Robert Blackburn, Frédéric Delmar, Alain Fayolle and Friederike Welter

This book, written by leading scholars, provides stimulating coverage of topical issues in the field of small business and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has already been shown to be a significant source of innovation and economic development but the variations in the contribution at the individual, organisational, regional and national levels remain relatively unexplored. The types of contributions – behavioural, economic and social – are also relatively new areas for empirical scrutiny and theoretical development. This anthology provides in-depth analyses of entrepreneurship across Europe and demonstrates the importance of context – the geographical, political and socio-economic milieu within which entrepreneurship takes place.

Chapter 4: A configurational approach to entrepreneurial orientation

Kathleen Randerson, Cristina Bettinelli and Alain Fayolle

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has been the object of stimulating theoretical debate for over 30 years. Some scholars adopt a unidimensional view, where the three dimensions of innovation, risk-taking, and proactiveness covary (e.g. Covin and Slevin 1991). Others adopt a multidimensional view, where these same three dimensions may vary independently (e.g. Kreiser and Davis 2010; Kreiser et al. 2002; Miller 1983, 2011), while others add the dimensions of competitive aggressiveness and autonomy (Lumpkin and Dess 1996). The pursuit to identify the relationship between EO and firm performance has attracted much scholarly interest (Rauch et al. 2009), becoming central (Miller 2011). This relationship may depend on different internal and external variables. Many scholars have called for configurational research in EO (Miller 1996, 2011; Covin and Lumpkin 2011; Wales et al. 2011; Covin and Wales 2012). We propose here a configurational analysis, directly inspired by Miller’s 1983 work, based on the interaction of the variables most often found in the literature, and reinforced by Miller in 2011. This approach allows for the generation of types of firms which can offer an explanation that reflects the complexity of situations. Configurational research responds to three research goals: describe, explain, and predict (Short et al. 2008). Elaborating groups of firms that are similar enables the description of the salient traits of each group (Dess et al. 1997) and gives access to a better understanding of organizations through the study of intrinsically homogeneous groups.

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