A Cognitive Perspective
Chapter 9: Entrepreneurial Experience and Innovation: The Mediating Role of Cognitive Complexity
Petru L. Curs eu and Dinie Louwers ¸ 9.1 INTRODUCTION Innovation is a key process for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance. In order to be eﬀective and to remain on the market, entrepreneurs have to innovate. Previous research has explored several antecedents for organizational innovation, ranging from organizational factors (for example, size, structure) to group dynamics (for example, diversity, group processes) and individual characteristics (for example, creativity, education, experience). In SMEs, entrepreneurs are the central actors responsible for innovation, and often the decision to innovate is a strategic choice because it may have important consequences for organizational performance. Several authors have emphasized the important inﬂuence of entrepreneurial attributes on strategic decision-making and innovation processes in SMEs (Kimberley and Evanisko, 1981; Brouthers et al., 1998; Lee and Tsang, 2001; Westhead et al., 2005b). Experience (expertise) is an important factor explored in a variety of studies that yielded mixed results. Entrepreneurial experience was found to have a positive relationship with responses to organizational changes in the environment (Westhead et al., 2005b), venture growth (Lee and Tsang, 2001) and information search (Cooper et al., 1995; Fredrickson and Iaquinto, 1989), which suggests that more-experienced entrepreneurs are more innovative than less-experienced ones. However, other researchers found a negative relationship between tenure and innovation in top management teams (for example, Bantel and Jackson, 1989) and between experience and information use of owners and managers of SMEs (Lybaert, 1998). Moreover, Kimberley and Evanisko (1981), Damanpour (1991) and Parker (2006) found no signiﬁcant relationship between...
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