Outlines of a Behavioral Theory of the Entrepreneurial Firm

Posted: 13 Aug 2009

See all articles by Nicholas Dew

Nicholas Dew

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Stuart Read

IMD International - Marketing and e-Commerce

Robert Wiltbank

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

In A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (BTF), Cyert and March [Cyert, R.M., March, J.G., 1963. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ] present a clutch of ideas for explaining the behavior of established firms within an environment of well-defined markets, stakeholder relationships, technologies, and so on. In this paper, we outline a behavioral theory of the entrepreneurial firm that emphasizes transforming environments rather than acting within extant ones. In particular, we explicate three ideas that parallel key concepts in BTF: (1) accumulating stakeholder commitments under goal ambiguity (in line with a political conception of goals), (2) achieving control (as opposed to managing expectations) through non-predictive strategies, and (3) predominately exaptive (rather than adaptive) orientation.

Suggested Citation

Dew, Nicholas and Read, Stuart and Wiltbank, Robert and Sarasvathy, Saras D., Outlines of a Behavioral Theory of the Entrepreneurial Firm (2008). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 66, No. 1, 2008, Batten Institute Research Paper No. 2008 D 1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1436227

Nicholas Dew

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Stuart Read (Contact Author)

IMD International - Marketing and e-Commerce ( email )

Chemin de Bellerive 23
P.O. Box 915
CH-1001 Lausanne
Switzerland

Robert Wiltbank

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503 370 6955 (Phone)
503 370 3011 (Fax)

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.effectuation.org

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