Abstract

Entrepreneurship research is regularly biased by a quite heroic conceptualization of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is seen as a “one man show”, where individual entrepreneurs act as “creative destroyers” (Schumpeter, 1934 [1912]) using their individual creativity (Tang et al., 2012), psychological traits (Cardon et al., 2013) and social capital (Florinvet al., 2003) to discover opportunities (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000) and to create the new.

However, the pertinence of organization in the entrepreneurial process (with executives and employees embedded in networks) has by and large received little attention compared to the entrepreneur as a luminary individual. To provide a counterpoint to this view, we propose a post- heroic perspective. We emphasize that not only leaders and founding teams (Harper, 2008) shape the creative process to end up with something novel and valuable (Amabile, 1996), but that this also applies to the whole entrepreneurial firm as an organization with executives and employees – whereby the creation process takes place across multiple levels within interorganizational networks: At the beginning, new ventures often not only lack internal resources, but also creativity-enhancing network relationships (Stinchcombe, 1965). This is why the initiation of entrepreneurial networks often starts with the help of intermediaries (e.g. business angels, business incubators, transfer offices, VCs; Zhang & Li, 2010). Drawing on the well-established research on the role of intermediaries for entrepreneurial creativity and innovation (Howells, 2006; Zhang & Li, 2010), we assess the post-heroic contribution of employees to this relationship. We furthermore add to the research on intermediaries, as we do not only analyze the mere existence of venture- intermediary relationships, but also the recurring networking practices that manifest and stabilize these relations.

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