Edited by Daniel Hjorth
Chapter 12: Strategic entrepreneurship: an emerging approach to firm-level entrepreneurship
The field of strategic entrepreneurship (henceforth, “SE”) is a fairly recent one. Its central idea is that opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking – the former the central subject of the entrepreneurship field, the latter the central subject of the strategic management field – are processes that need to be considered jointly. This involves going beyond the overwhelming focus on start-ups, characteristic of the entrepreneurship field, and paying explicit attention to the established firm as a source of entrepreneurial actions. It similarly involves paying explicit attention to the creation of competitive advantages, somewhat surprisingly a weak spot of the strategic management field. Anticipations of SE can be found in earlier contributions. For example, Penrose (1959) coined the notion of the firm’s “subjective opportunity set,” that is, the set of opportunities the firm’s top-management team perceives and believes it can seize; Baumol (1990) argued that entrepreneurship may be exercised by established firms; and Rumelt (1987) linked entrepreneurship and the creation of competitive advantage. Moreover, work on corporate entrepreneurship (Zahra, 1996) and venturing (Burgelman, 1983); organizational learning theory on the exploration/exploitation tradeoff (March, 1991) and ambidexterity (Simsek, 2009); innovation research (Teece, 1986; Ahuja and Lampert, 2001); work on hyper-competition (D’Aveni, 1994); real options; dynamic capabilities theory (Teece et al., 1997) each in various ways anticipate SE theory. And yet, those streams needed to be explicitly pulled together and focused.
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