This chapter explores this question: What was known about “opportunity” before scholars began treating it as the “distinctive domain of entrepreneurship” (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000)? The chapter focuses on uncovering and recognizing a significant amount of past scholarship on opportunity that we suggest has value for helping entrepreneurship scholars, now, re-conceptualize the idea of opportunity as well as reformulate and contextualize methods and situations for studying opportunity as an aspect of entrepreneurship. We suggest that the concept of opportunity, historically, is much richer and more nuanced than is recognized in current scholarship. Second, there is a strong foundation of prior scholarship on the nature of opportunity from the strategic management area (e.g. Dutton and Jackson, 1987; Jackson and Dutton, 1988) that laid a strong foundation for any subsequent pursuit of opportunity as a subject of scholarship. Third, the idea of opportunity as a primary characteristic of entrepreneurship appears to have been first proposed by Stevenson (1983), and his subsequent work has, essentially, been ignored. We suggest that an ignorance of prior thought, theory and evidence has been detrimental to subsequent theory building and empirical research on the importance of opportunity as an idea that has value for understanding the nature of entrepreneurship. We offer some suggestions for how this prior research and theory might be fruitfully integrated into current scholarship on opportunity. Finally, we offer some thoughts for how a historical approach to entrepreneurship scholarship might be useful for informing the development of theory and practice.
William B. Gartner, Bruce T. Teague, Ted Baker and R. Daniel Wadhwani
Nancy M. Carter, William B. Gartner, Kelly G. Shaver and Elizabeth J. Gatewood
This paper explores the reasons that nascent entrepreneurs offered for their work and career choices and compares those responses to the reasons given by a group of nonentrepreneurs. Six separate factors accounted for 68% of the variance: self-realization, financial success, roles, innovation, recognition and independence.