Abstract

Researchers are increasingly focusing on the content of entrepreneurial opportunities. One promise is that capturing the properties of opportunities help better explain entrepreneurial action. Still, extant research mostly “has regarded opportunities in a largely undifferentiated manner, giving little attention to distinguishing between different features of opportunities” (Hill & Birkinshaw, 2010: 86). Given opportunities “are cognitive and non-material” (Davidsson, 2015: 684), here, I take a situated cognitive approach and build a theoretically- and empirically-informed framework to help capture the content of opportunities and linking content to action.

The notions of conceptual system and concept are important here. A “conceptual system represents an individual’s knowledge about the world” and is composed of several inter-related concepts, where a concept “is the accumulated information in memory extracted for a category via selective attention, where a category is a set of things perceived as the same type for one of many possible reasons” (Barsalou, 2008: 213). Concepts can be generic (situation independent) or situated (contain properties related to the salient features of each situation). Situated concepts permit one to take situated action. The content of a situated concept can be captured by viewing the concept as: “a collection of category representations, with each category representing a different component of experience. Knowledge of these components includes categories for agents, objects, locations, times, events, actions…” (Barsalou, 2008: 220). Thus, to capture the content of an opportunity, as a situated concept, one can use: {Entrepreneurial Opportunity (at time n)} ~ {(related-agentsn), (related-objectsn), (related-locations), (related-timesn),}.

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