Differences in Entrepreneurial Opportunities: The Role of Tacitness and Codification in Opportunity Identification

20 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2009

See all articles by Brett R. Smith

Brett R. Smith

Miami University of Ohio - Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration

Charles H. Matthews

University of Cincinnati - Department of Management

Mark T. Schenkel

Belmont University - College of Business Administration

Abstract

The role of opportunities in the entrepreneurial process remains relatively underdeveloped. To address this issue, we develop a definition of an entrepreneurial opportunity and draw upon a distinction from the domain of knowledge management to suggest a continuum of entrepreneurial opportunities ranging from codified to tacit. Though both traditional and contemporary research has examined how individual differences relate to the identification of opportunities, we focus instead on the importance of differences in the opportunities themselves. Specifically, we examine how relative differences in the degree of opportunity tacitness relate to the process of opportunity identification. We find that relatively more codified opportunities are more likely to be discovered through systematic search, whereas more tacit opportunities are more likely to be identified due to prior experience. These findings contribute to an increased understanding of the role of the opportunity in entrepreneurship research and have important implications for economic theories of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurial networks, and entrepreneurial education.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Brett R. and Matthews, Charles H. and Schenkel, Mark T., Differences in Entrepreneurial Opportunities: The Role of Tacitness and Codification in Opportunity Identification. Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 47, Issue 1, pp. 38-57, January 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1320708 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-627X.2008.00261.x

Brett R. Smith

Miami University of Ohio - Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration ( email )

Oxford, OH 45056
United States

Charles H. Matthews

University of Cincinnati - Department of Management ( email )

United States

Mark T. Schenkel

Belmont University - College of Business Administration ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN
United States
615 460 6784 (Phone)

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