Abstract

Extant theorizing suggests that the portfolio of strategic options held by the firm is defined as a function of how existing routines, governance structures, and information channels focus the attention of decision-makers (Barnett, 2008). In the case of new ventures, however, these established routines, structures, and channels are absent or weak. Questions as to the mechanisms through which founders/founding teams focus their attention toward developing a portfolio of strategic options are important, but under-developed in the literature. In this study we bring together the foundational tenants of options reasoning with the Attention Base View (ABV), investigating the general proposition that when identifying the set of strategic options held by the venture, the professional and personal networks of the founder/founding team serve as substitutes for established routines, structures, and information channels characteristic of large firms.

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