Entrepreneurship as Experience

Entrepreneurship as Experience

How Events Create Ventures and Ventures Create Entrepreneurs

Michael H. Morris, Christopher G. Pryor and Minet Schindehutte

Do entrepreneurs create ventures or do venture experiences create entrepreneurs? The authors of Entrepreneurship as Experience propose that the answer is ‘both’. This important volume examines how individuals experience the creation of a venture as it happens and how that experience determines the types of entrepreneur and venture that ultimately emerge.

Chapter 5: Processing of the Entrepreneurial Experience

Michael H. Morris, Christopher G. Pryor and Minet Schindehutte

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


It is the job of the sensemaker to convert a world of experience into an intelligible world. (Karl Weick, 2001) INTRODUCTION The core argument of this book is that entrepreneurship can best be understood by approaching it as an experience. The entrepreneur encounters a temporal sequence of salient events. The volume, velocity, and volatility of these events serve to define venture creation. At issue is what is actually happening when one is in the midst of a venture taking form. He or she is experiencing the problematic launch of a new product, the making of a financial commitment that could bankrupt the company, the achievement of a significant performance goal, a break-in resulting in significant theft, the hiring away of a key employee by a competitor, a lawsuit from an investor, and many hundreds of other developments. Such events have to be interpreted, given meaning, and made sense of. Central to experiencing, then, is how the individual actually processes these events. How do they enter into one’s consciousness, and in what ways might they elicit unconscious reactions? Each individual has their own unique way of perceiving, interpreting, and responding to the events surrounding creation of a venture. This processing, in turn, results in changes to the individual, who then perceives, interprets, and responds to future stimuli, in a cumulative, path-dependent process. In this chapter, we explore how entrepreneurs process events and event streams. A general framework to capture relationships between events, experiential processing, and behavioral outcomes is introduced. We approach...

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