Abstract

An examination of how opportunities come to be, and in turn the how they are enacted by entrepreneurs will enhance our understanding of entrepreneurship. This study focuses on how opportunities come to be, or are recognized. Recent theorising has focused on cognitive explanations for variations in individual opportunity attention (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006), citing prior knowledge (Shane, 2001) and motivation as antecedents. This study seeks to make an original contribution by empirically examining the functional relationships between knowledge, motivation and entrepreneurial opportunity cognition.

While scholars agree that prior knowledge is an important factor in the acknowledgement of opportunity it is still not clear how cognition or motivation impacts. This study aims to address this gap by simultaneously examining the relationships between knowledge, motivation and opportunity using the model of McMullen and Shepherd (2006) as a basis for the study. Where, we expect that the relationship between knowledge, motivation and opportunity may be described by a simple cognitive algebraic function of multiplication. Additionally, we expect that higher levels of knowledge and higher levels of motivation will be associated with an individual’s attention to the value of a particular opportunity.

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