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Aspects of Entrepreneurial Orientation Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2022

Introduction

Randerson’s (2016) article aims at summarizing the extant research on entrepreneurial orientation (EO) to reveal existing gaps and inconsistencies in this field. EO is defined as organization-level entrepreneurial behaviors and processes resulting in such behaviors, and the author argues that this concept is important for entrepreneurial research (Randerson, 2016). However, various scholars treat this concept differently, which hinders the accumulation of a consistent body of knowledge. Therefore, Randerson (2016) summarized inconsistencies in the definitions and measurements of EO. The author also reviewed five conceptualizations of EO: original, unidimensional, multidimensional, three independently varying dimensions, and two lower-order dimensions (Randerson, 2016). Further, the researcher suggested future research directions and proposed that EO should be studied from such points of view as the European tradition and the social constructionist and pragmatic philosophies of science. The article is valuable to scholars because it summarized the existing knowledge about EO, revealed inconsistencies, and guided future studies.

Addressed Gaps in the Literature

In her article, Randerson (2016) did not aim to fill the gap in the literature; instead, she tried to identify and summarize the gaps in the extant literature on EO to guide future research in this field. Randerson (2016) discovered that, although much scholarly attention was drawn to the concept of EO, researchers still did not have a unified view of EO. The author revealed inconsistencies in the definitions of EO, as well as different existing conceptualizations. Thus, the study was intended to identify inconsistencies and disagreements in the EO research to allow scholars to use this work as the basis for future research in this field.

Ideas and Arguments Found Stimulating

The first idea found stimulating is that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behavior are not universal concepts. According to Randerson (2016), the definitions of these concepts, as well as the desirability of entrepreneurship, vary among different cultures. This is an important argument because it implies that not every culture values entrepreneurship as high as Western culture. In addition, what can be considered entrepreneurial behaviors in one country may be regarded differently in another one. The second idea found stimulating is that entrepreneurial behaviors stem from individuals’ understanding of established social rules and the value of the capital they have or want to get (Randerson, 2016). This argument is consistent with the first idea because, in different cultures, different social rules exist. Therefore, understanding the rules applicable to a particular culture makes entrepreneurs adopt behaviors that are perceived as valuable in their culture.

Questions and Concerns with the Main Claims

The author’s main claim is that it is important to study organization-level entrepreneurial behaviors, but many questions in this field remain unanswered. For example, Randerson (2016) stated that it was necessary to research what behaviors could be considered entrepreneurial and what processes are needed to encourage these behaviors. The author was also concerned with the question of what philosophies of science could help in studying organization-level entrepreneurship. Since the author mentioned that entrepreneurial behaviors differ from culture to culture, it may be added that an important question is how these behaviors and their desirability varies in different cultures.

Similarities and Disagreements Reported in The Literature

The main differences covered in Randerson’s (2016) article are those among five conceptualizations of EO. According to Randerson (2016), although these five conceptualizations are different, they share one common feature. All of them admit that organization-level entrepreneurial behavior is the consequence of the actions of individuals and teams. This similarity proves the importance of understanding the multilevel nature of organization-level entrepreneurial behavior because individuals act according to their environment and define processes and results at different organizational levels.

The differences among the five conceptualizations lie in dimensions, species, usage, the link between EO and its dimensions, dimensionality, the evolution of dimensions, and levels of analysis (Randerson, 2016). Randerson (2016) argues that Miller’s conceptualization allows for identifying environmental, organizational, and motivational factors causing organization-level entrepreneurial behaviors. In Miller’s conceptualization, the dimensions of risk-taking, proactiveness, and innovation represent entrepreneurial behaviors, while in the conceptualization offered by Kreiser and colleagues, they refer to strategic decision-making. The main distinction of Covin and Slevin’s conceptualization is that it regards the three dimensions as co-varying and posits that EO can exist only when all three dimensions are in place. Lumpkin and Dess’s conceptualization uses five fixed dimensions, including the three dimensions from the conceptualizations mentioned above plus autonomy and competitive aggressiveness. The conceptualization proposed by Anderson and colleagues is entirely different from the other four conceptualizations. It uses two dimensions, entrepreneurial behavior and managerial attitude toward risk, which are co-varying and essential for EO to exist. Identifying these differences is necessary because it enables scholars to choose the right research methods and conceptual models for their studies and contribute to the body of knowledge.

Future Research Directions

Future studies should be directed toward researching organization-level entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviors. Randerson (2016) argues that it is necessary to study the dimensions of the five conceptualizations using research methods other than those used previously. Furthermore, these dimensions could be studied in specific organizational contexts to provide valuable insights. Finally, since some conceptualizations allow for adding new dimensions, scholars could propose their conceptualizations of EO based on the existing ones.

A Recent Work Missing

Like the article by Randerson (2016), a recent study by Wales et al. (2020) recognized differences in conceptualizations of EO. However, Wales et al. (2020) attempted to reconcile the conceptualizations offered by Miller/Covin and Slevin and Lumpkin and Dess by proposing a new conceptualization. In their conceptualization, Wales et al. (2020) regard EO as comprised of the firm’s entrepreneurial top management style, organizational configuration, and new entry initiatives. Thus, researchers seem to respond to Randerson’s (2016) call for studying EO as a multilevel concept.

References

Randerson, K. (2016). Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 28(7-8), 580-600. Web.

Wales, W. J., Covin, J. G., & Monsen, E. (2020). Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 1-22. Web.

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