Opportunity discovery, entrepreneurial action, and economic organization

Authors

  • Peter G. Klein

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Applied Social Sciences and McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, U.S.A.
    • Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, U.S.A.
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Abstract

This article reviews and critiques the opportunity discovery approach to entrepreneurship and argues that entrepreneurship can be more thoroughly grounded, and more closely linked to more general problems of economic organization by adopting the Cantillon-Knight-Mises understanding of entrepreneurship as judgment. The article begins by distinguishing among occupational, structural, and functional approaches to entrepreneurship and distinguishing among two influential interpretations of the entrepreneurial function—discovery and judgment. It turns next to the contemporary literature on opportunity identification and argues that this literature misinterprets Kirzner's instrumental use of the discovery metaphor and mistakenly makes opportunities the unit of analysis. The article then describes an alternative approach in which investment is the unit of analysis and link this approach to Austrian capital theory. I close with some applications to organizational form and entrepreneurial teams. Copyright © 2008 Strategic Management Society.

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