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Title: Contextual influences on entrepreneurial actions
Author: Pathak, Saurav
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 8685
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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Research on entrepreneurial actions has thus far been dominated by individual-level and dispositional approaches. These approaches assume that individuals’ entrepreneurial actions are regulated by individuals’ enduring characteristics that operate in a similar way in all contexts and in total isolation with their surroundings. This assumption has continued to dominate research on entrepreneurial actions in spite of the widespread recognition of the fact that entrepreneurial actions are also influenced by contextual factors. The dispositional approach thus presents an under-socialized view of entrepreneurial opportunity creation and ignores that entrepreneurial process of opportunity discovery are strongly influenced by contextual factors, such as organisational environments, institutions, social reference groups, cultural orientations, environmental munificence. This thesis addresses this gap and contributes towards answering “How do individuals’ context influence entrepreneurial actions?” We provide answer by extending McMullen and Shepherd’s proposed theoretical model and argue that entrepreneurial actions depend upon not only an individual’s personal feasibility and desirability considerations (McMullen and Shepherd 2006), but also upon the context within which the individual evaluates the consequences of those actions. In order to test and provide evidence in favour of this argument, an empirical design is proposed that comprises of three separate empirical studies, each of which considers the cross-level effects on entrepreneurial actions by combining the influences of individual-level as well contextuallevel factors on those actions and offers explanations on the pertinent mechanisms through which an individual’s context exercises a regulatory influence on entrepreneurial actions by individuals. The thesis acknowledges and further consolidates the multi-level nature of entrepreneurial actions and considers cross-level effects by combining the influence of individual-level and contextual-level factors on entrepreneurial actions. A multi-level methodology has been developed and tested to bring forth the cross-level moderation effects of contextual factors that operate at a higher level on individual-level entrepreneurial actions. Three multi-level empirical studies feature in this thesis that elucidates the mechanisms through which an individual’s context constitutes a regulatory influence on the feasibility and desirability to undertake entrepreneurial actions. The first study examines the influence of prevailing norms in an individual’s social reference group on individual-level entrepreneurial actions. The second empirical study examines the influence of national-level cultural orientations on individual-level entrepreneurial actions and the third study investigates the influence of national-level cultural orientations on persistence in the entrepreneurial process. The third empirical study examines the influence of national-level cultural orientations on an individual’s persistence into entrepreneurship.
Supervisor: Autio, Erkko Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral