Entrepreneurial opportunities in the individual–opportunity nexus

Authored by: Jonathan T. Eckhardt

The Routledge Companion to Entrepreneurship

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415631761
eBook ISBN: 9780203096512
Adobe ISBN: 9781136218620


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In an early attempt to define the field of entrepreneurship, Venkataraman (1997) postulated that the study of entrepreneurial opportunities ought to be as important as the study of the characteristics of entrepreneurs themselves. The importance of opportunities was further emphasized by Shane and Venkataraman (2000), Eckhardt and Shane (2003) and Shane (2003) in the development of the individual–opportunity (I–O) nexus. The I–O nexus describes entrepreneurship as a process that is driven by the interaction of enterprising individuals and opportunities (Shane and Venkataraman 2000). The I–O nexus delineates the events in the entrepreneurial process into several distinct components: (1) the discovery; (2) the evaluation; and (3) exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. With an emphasis on treating the opportunity as distinct from the entrepreneur, the I–O nexus represents a departure from other theoretical treatments of entrepreneurship (Ireland and Webb 2007). In doing so, the I–O nexus provides a concise but comprehensive framework under which to study the processes of how and why new goods and services are introduced into markets.

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