Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Techno-Entrepreneurship

Handbook of Research on Techno-Entrepreneurship

Elgar original reference

Edited by François Thérin

Techno-entrepreneurship is broadly defined as the entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activities of both existing and nascent companies operating in technology-intensive environments. Boasting rich conceptual and empirical contributions by leading international specialists, this highly original Handbook will prove an invaluable tool in advancing our understanding of the theory and practice of research in this emerging area. The expert contributors initially explore the foundations of the field, clearly defining the parameters of techno-entrepreneurship.

Chapter 5: From the Exploration of New Possibilities to the Exploitation of Recently Developed Competencies: Evidence from Five Ventures Developing New-to-the-World Technologies

Annaleena Parhankangas and David L. Hawk

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, technology and ict


5 From the exploration of new possibilities to the exploitation of recently developed competencies: evidence from five ventures developing new-tothe-world technologies Annaleena Parhankangas and David L. Hawk Introduction Entrepreneurship in general and technology-based entrepreneurship in particular is a process of experimentation and learning (Woo et al., 1994). Entrepreneurs start their venturing process by exploring a newly ‘theorized’ opportunity in a highly uncertain situation. After a certain period of exploration, entrepreneurs will try to gain profits from the experimented opportunities (Choi and Shepherd, 2004). Using the terminology of the organizational learning literature, successful entrepreneurs are able to proceed from the exploration of new possibilities to the exploitation of recently acquired competencies. The postulate of a trade-off between exploration and exploitation processes is one of the most enduring ideas in organizational theory (see, for instance, Adler et al., 1999). The contradictory nature of exploration and exploitation activities (Abernathy, 1978; Adler et al., 1999; March, 1991) has led several scholars to question whether it is possible for organizations to pursue both types of activities simultaneously. Some scholars have suggested that organizations engage in multiple forms of learning by adopting features from both organic and mechanistic structures (Hedberg et al., 1976; Brown and Eisenhardt, 1997). A contrasting view suggests that corporations should completely separate (Christensen, 1998) or buffer experimenting units from exploiting ones (March and Simon, 1958, p. 198). Some studies argue that ambidextrous or dual organizational forms are the key to managing exploration and exploitation activities simultaneously (Bradach, 1997; Tushman and...

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