Entrepreneurial Business and Society
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Entrepreneurial Business and Society

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Friederike Welter, Robert Blackburn, Elisabet Ljunggren and Bjørn Willy Åmo

Entrepreneurial Business and Society summarizes contemporary research in the field of entrepreneurship and small business and explores the interplay between the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial firm and society.
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Chapter 9: Critical resources and capabilities for successful entrepreneurship: the case of agriculture

Jorunn Grande


This chapter explores entrepreneurial efforts, ability to change and resources of critical importance to new value-added ventures on farms. Policymakers, researchers and practitioners as well as advisory services seem to perceive increased entrepreneurial efforts on farms to be an important tool in offsetting the prospect of declining income and employment in the agricultural sector (Alsos et al. 2003; De Wolf et al. 2007; Vesala et al.2007). A challenge is however that previous research struggles to identify significant improvements in income levels on farms arising from such efforts (McNally 2001; Rønning and Kolvereid 2006). Also knowledge on which are critical factors to improve performance appears limited (Barbieri and Mshenga 2008; Evans 2009; McElwee 2008). Engagement in new diversifying ventures may be a challenging task for all types of firms, hence the success of value-added farm ventures is not guaranteed. Farm firms may in particular encounter trouble due to the type of industry, tradition and their liability of smallness. Nevertheless, their ability to cope with this new situation and perform necessary changes is of great importance both for their own survival and for sustaining economic development in rural communities. To investigate these issues the chapter takes on an explorative approach looking at three Norwegian farm cases. Furthermore, a theoretical framework with pillars within the resource-based view (RBV), the dynamic capability (DC) and the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) perspectives underpins the study. These theories have in recent years received increased attention within the general management and entrepreneurship literature due to their importance in explaining business change and sources of value creation in firms.

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