Table of Contents

A Psychological Approach to Entrepreneurship

A Psychological Approach to Entrepreneurship

Selected Essays of Dean A. Shepherd

Dean A. Shepherd

Within an entrepreneurial context, what a person thinks and feels and how they behave are hugely consequential. Entrepreneurs often work in scenarios of considerable time pressure, task complexity, uncertainty and high performance variance. This fascinating volume explores the unique psychological qualities of individuals directly involved in the entrepreneurial process.

Chapter 6: Prior Knowledge, Potential Financial Reward, and Opportunity Identification

Dean A. Shepherd and Dawn R. DeTienne

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


In a rapidly changing world, organizations need to continually identify new oppor-tunities beyond existing competencies if they are to survive and prosper (Hamel & Prahalad, 1989; McGrath, Tsai, Venkataraman, & MacMillan, 1996). The identificationof opportunities has been recognized as one of the most important abilities of successfulentrepreneurs (Ardichvili, Cardozo, & Ray, 2003) and consequently has become animportant element of the scholarly study of entrepreneurship. Gaglio and Katz (2001, p. 95) contend that “understanding the opportunity identification process represents oneof the core intellectual questions for the domain of entrepreneurship.” Recent researchinto resource-based theory has extended its boundaries to include identification of oppor-tunities as a resource that, through the process of exploitation, can lead to competitiveadvantage (Alvarez & Busenitz, 2001). Not surprisingly there has been considerableinterest in why, when, and how some people are able to identify opportunities, whileothers cannot or do not (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000).

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