What We Know and What We Need to Know
Edited by Alain Fayolle
Chapter 10: Entrepreneurial orientation: disposition and behavior
Scholarly interest in Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) has grown exponentially in the past decade (Covin and Wales, 2011). Best considered under the rubric of corporate entrepreneurship, EO deals with the origination and implementation of strategic behaviors that are entrepreneurial in nature: developing and launching novel products and services (innovativeness); entering new markets and preempting others in the pursuit of new business opportunities (proactiveness); and committing organizational resources towards uncertain ends (risk-taking) (Covin and Slevin, 1991). Additional categories of behavior often considered elements of EO include competitive aggressiveness (whereby the firm actively engages its rivals) and autonomy (whereby the freedom exists within firms for individuals to exercise their discretion in the pursuit of opportunities) (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). EO is a firm-level construct, observable through the behavioral manifestations of organizational strategy (Covin and Lumpkin, 2011); thus, we know a firm is entrepreneurial because it engages in various behaviors that place the firm in novel product-market domains (Covin and Slevin, 1991; Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). What makes EO a compelling topic for entrepreneurship scholars is that, while debates abound over EO's ontological and epistemological construction, it is clearly tapping a theoretically rich and meaningful phenomenon. At its most basic level, EO deals directly with the question of how we identify entrepreneurial firms, and more broadly, what the mechanisms are that facilitate entrepreneurial behaviors and then, what the consequences are of those behaviors.
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