How Entrepreneurs do What they do
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How Entrepreneurs do What they do

Case Studies in Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship

Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen

How Entrepreneurs Do What They Do presents 13 case studies of knowledge intensive entrepreneurship. The book focuses on ‘doing’, in essence, what happens when entrepreneurs are engaging practically in venture creation processes.
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Chapter 4: Interaction as a strategy in knowledge intensive entrepreneurship: the case of an ERP software company

Olof Zaring


This case study is about the development process of a new entrepreneurial venture, the software company IJK, seen over a prolonged period. The case study follows the company during the 1983–2003 period. IJK went through three distinct phases during this time span when it pursued different entrepreneurial strategies. The case study covers the successful management of expansion and consolidation in the software industry and shows how this can be a prolonged process, where a company develops products, expands its market reach and faces crisis. The case especially covers the relationship between expansion strategies, financing and ownership, and product development and illustrates the use of partnerships as a management tool in a knowledge intensive enterprise. The case study illustrates how enterprise growth is not a particularly predictable process to the entrepreneur. Managing growth in an entrepreneurial enterprise is as much about balancing ups and downs due to uncertainty in market conditions, technology and the supply of risk capital as well as about alleviating tensions between entrepreneurial ambition and practicality. In particular the case study serves as a contrast to a basic ‘textbook case’ of entrepreneurship where linear business planning is the tool of choice and where expansion goes according to the original planning, which is not the focus in this book. Rather we illustrate here that entrepreneurship is often a non-linear process that defies planning efforts: It is not sufficient to make a business plan with a specific strategy for expansion and expect that it will hold for any length of time.

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