Abstract

The entrepreneurial ethics literature has primarily focused on how being engaged in entrepreneurship affects ethics. We consider how ethical ideologies, specifically utilitarian as compared to formalist ideologies, relate to opportunity recognition. Specifically, we propose that holding a utilitarian ideology is positively and more strongly related to opportunity recognition than holding a formalistic ideology, and that creativity mediates this relationship. We rely on a theory of entrepreneurial action (McMullen & Shepherd 2006) that notes the importance of relevant information in recognizing opportunities. Specifically, we suggest holding a utilitarian ideology allows for a greater breath in the acquisition, retention and potential utilization of information, whereas, holing a formalist ideology may prevent the same. We also suggest that additional relevant information allows for increased combination of thought, a critical part of creativity (Bierly, Kolodinsky, & Charette, 2008) that is necessary for the identification of business opportunities (Shane, 2003).

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