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Title: Constructing Kirznerian-Schumpeterian entrepreneurial opportunities : a cognitive constructivist theorisation of creative decision-making processes
Author: Selden, Paul D.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 3374
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis, I set out to make a contribution to the business entrepreneurship literature by questioning the capacity of the mainstream 'entitativist' mode of thinking (Hosking, 1995) to theorise the variety and creativity of 'entrepreneurial opportunity identification' (EOI) actions. From a non-mainstream 'relational' perspective (Hosking, 1995), I argue that the environmental determinism implicit in entitativist assumptions has had a simplifying, homogenising and reifying effect on the understanding of context-specific EOI phenomena. I address this issue through the construction and operationalisation of cognitive constructivistorientated concepts (Kelly, 1955/63; Piaget, 1954 and 1971a) in the description and explanation of EOI action variety in the field. These concepts are operationalised in the context of an exploratory multiple-case research strategy. The first phase of the project involves explaining the significance of creative EOI actions as the object of study within a unified Kirznerian-Schumpeterian conceptualisation of the domain of entrepreneurship (Schumpeter, 1911/61; Kirzner, 1973). The second phase addresses the limitations of theorising EOI actions as the veridical processing of environmental opportunities (Kaish and Gilad, 1991; Long and McMullan, 1994; Gaglio, 1997; Gaglio and Katz, 2001; Shepherd and DeTienne, 2005; Baron and Ensley, 2006) through generic mental capacities (traits, cognitive styles and rational processes). It is argued that localised EOI decision-making processes can be described, at a lower level of analysis, as the 'intentional' construction and resolution of sequences of 'meaning (in)congruities', and explained through the mediation of 'action-specific' cognitive structures. This approach enables unique EOI decision-making processes to be plotted and compared as individually- and socially-relative combinations of EOI events and underlying cognitive structures. In the third phase of the project, EOI events and cognitively significant material is elicited, during semi-structured interviews with individual Kirznerian and Schumpeterian entrepreneurs, using an interview strategy based on operational definitions of meta-theoretical concepts. Finally, analysis of the interview text, also based on operational definitions of core concepts, yields 'localised' theories of individual EOI practices, which are then developed into 'typological' theory of EOI creativity and variety through cross-case comparisons.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available