Abstract

A central construct in firm-level entrepreneurship is entrepreneurial orientation (EO), which captures a firm’s strategic postures (Covin & Slevin, 1991) and processes (Lumpkin & Dess, 1996) that lead to new entry. Some scholars have been critical of EO due to a perceived lack of clarity between intention (what entrepreneurial firms want to do) and the action (what entrepreneurial firms actually do) (Wiklund, 1999; Zahra, Jennings, & Kuratko, 1999). Since intention and action are conceptually different and intention does not always lead to the expected action (Mintzberg & Waters, 1985), it is useful to distinguish between entrepreneurial intention and action.

We elucidate entrepreneurial intention (EI) and entrepreneurial action (EA); EI captures a firm’s intention to seek new opportunities and rapid growth (Mintzberg, 1973; Penrose, 1959; Stevenson & Jarillo, 1990), and EA reflects a firm’s new market entry and new product development activities (Jennings & Lumpkin, 1989). By clarifying the distinctions between EI, EO, and EA, we propose that the process from EI to EA is realized through EO.

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