Abstract

This paper use the evolutionary theory of the firm and the dynamic capability approach to study to what extent firms can change their entrepreneurial orientation (EO) over time and the mechanisms enabling such evolution, an issue that is underdeveloped in EO research (Wales et al., 2011). While the use of the evolutionary theory of the firm has been proposed in a recent EO review article (Covin & Lumpkin, 2011), few prior studies has used it in empirical analysis of EO, and no prior study has to our knowledge used this theory to study the evolution and persistence of EO over time.

Evolutionary theorizing argues that firms can change their operational capabilities (OC) through the execution of dynamic capabilities (DC) (Teece et al, 1997; Nelson & Winter, 1982). Conceptualizing EO, including risk-taking, innovativeness, and proactiveness, as OCs we examine to what extent these are influenced over time by firms DCs. The following research question is asked: To what extent and how can firms change their EO over time? This broad research question is elaborated into testable hypotheses about the relationship between DCs and EO conceptualized as an OC.

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