Integrating Discovery and Creation Perspectives of Entrepreneurial Action: The Relative Roles of Founding CEO Human Capital, Social Capital, and Psychological Capital in Contexts of Risk Versus Uncertainty


Research summary This study examines the relationships of founding CEOs’ intangible resources (human, social, and psychological capital) with the performance of their firms in environmental contexts of discovery (stable industry conditions that are characterized by risk) versus creation (dynamic industry conditions that are characterized by uncertainty). Results from a national (USA) random sample of founding CEOs (n = 223) found entrepreneurial experience (an aspect of human capital) to be positively related to performance in discovery contexts, whereas educational attainment, strong ties, and psychological capital (a composite index of optimism, self-efficacy, resilience, and hope) were positively related to performance in creation contexts. These findings extend theorizing concerning discovery and creation perspectives from the pre-entry phase (opportunity recognition) to the post-entry phase (opportunity exploitation) of the entrepreneurial process. Managerial summary This research investigates the relationships of founding CEOs’ intangible resources with the performance of their firms in industry environments that are stable (slow changing and predictable) versus dynamic (fast changing and unpredictable). The results indicate that entrepreneurial experience (number of prior new ventures founded) is positively related to performance in stable environments, whereas educational attainment (highest educational degree earned), strong ties (social connections to family members and friends who provide support relating to the firm), and psychological capital (inner cognitive, emotional, and behavioral resources used to cope with adversity) are positively related to performance in dynamic environments. The findings highlight the importance of fit between the intangible resources of founding CEOs and the characteristics of the industries in which they attempt to develop and grow their firms.

Journal or Publication:
Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Authors:
Keith Hmieleski
JON C CARR
Baron Robert A
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Status:
publish
Year Published
2015
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