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STRATEGIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP— CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS

Simply put, strategic entrepreneurship can be considered as the intersection of two distinct bodies of literature: strategy and entrepreneurship. This entity comprises the integration of both concepts and constitutes a combination of "exploration" and "exploitation" aspects. More specifically, strategic entrepreneurship, defined as exploration for future sources of competitive advantage, combined with exploitation of current sources of competitive advantage, has been proposed as a way for decision makers to manage uncertainty.40

A number of conceptual frameworks have appeared in the business literature. The foundational conceptual framework of strategic entrepreneurship, which was published in 2001, comprised six key domains.41 It has been posited that activity in these six areas can be jointly classified as entrepreneurial and strategic. These domains are as follows:

1. Innovation (i.e., creating and implementing ideas);

2. Networks (i.e., providing access to resources);

3. Internationalization (i.e., adapting swiftly and expanding);

4. Organizational learning (i.e., transferring knowledge and developing resources);

5. Growth (i.e., stimulating success and change); and

6. Top management teams and governance (i.e., selection and implementation of strategies).

Management scholars originally commented that there was an overly strong emphasis on strategy, overlooking the themes central to entrepreneurship. As a consequence, a revised framework emerged a few years later, which included external networks and alliances, resources and organizational learning, and innovation and internationalization.42 Although the models have similarities, the latter framework with its emphasis on resources, competencies, and capabilities has a strengthened view on both strategy and entrepreneurship. In 2003, the original authors of the 2001 framework introduced a modified framework having revised the dimensions pertinent to entrepreneurship. They included the aspects of entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurial culture, the strategic management of resources, and the application of creativity to develop innovations. The full integration of these dimensions is believed to result in wealth creation.43 It has been reported that the modified model reflects a substantial change in the direction of the literature. Thus, there are four key dimensions that are commonly associated with the notion of strategic entrepreneurship:

1. An entrepreneurial mindset consisting of insight, alertness, and flexibility to use appropriate resources;

2. Entrepreneurial culture and leadership where innovation and creativity are fostered;

3. The strategic management of resources which includes human, social, and financial capital; and

4. The application of creativity to foster both incremental and radical innovation.

Later in the first decade of this new millennium, it was underscored that strategic entrepreneurship should strike a balance between opportunity-seeking (i.e., exploration) and advantage-seeking (i.e., exploitation) behaviors, thereby highlighting the importance of and need for continuous innovation.44 Additional models and frameworks have since been established and published. However, the strategic entrepreneurship emphasis has to some extent remained theoretical with little guidance and practical support.

INTEGRATING ENTREPRENEURSHIP WITH STRATEGY

Reviewing the bodies of literature of entrepreneurship and strategic management suggests strongly that both disciplines are concerned with firm performance. Although entrepreneurship promotes the pursuit of sustainable competitive advantages by means of market, process, and product innovations, it is strategic management that presents the tools for firms to establish and exploit sustainable competitive advantages within a confined environmental context.

In order to integrate entrepreneurship with strategy, it is important to discuss the concepts of dominant logic and dynamic dominant logic. The former, dominant logic, refers to the way in which executives understand and conceptualize a business operation and make critical decisions regarding the allocation of resources. Dominant logic has been defined as the lens through which managers see emerging opportunities and options for the firm.45 Put differently, dominant logic relates to the main means and methods that a firm utilizes in order to pursue profits—that is, how a firm has succeeded or continues to succeed in its operations. Interestingly, although the dominant logic of a firm attempts to capture prevailing mindsets, it also filters and interprets information obtained from the environment, which, ultimately, guides the strategies, systems, processes, and displayed behaviors within an organizational entity. As such, managers have been found to consider only information that is perceived to be relevant to the entity's dominant logic.

The latter concept, a dynamic dominant logic, is an extension of the original concept of dominant logic whereby entrepreneurship acts as the basis on which the firm is to be conceptualized and resources are to be allo-cated.46 As a dynamic dominant logic, entrepreneurship has the capacity to promote strategic agility, flexibility, creativity, and continuous improvement throughout the organization.47

It has been posited that entrepreneurship is more than a preselected course of action; it is certainly more than a managerial mindset. Entrepreneurship has the ability to provide a theme or direction for a firm's entire business operation. Strategically speaking, entrepreneurship must be an integral part of an organization's business strategy. Although strategy determines the direction of a firm, it is the integration of entrepreneurship into strategy at the organization level that has the capacity to greatly enhance the strategic possibilities of the firm.48

Finally, the purposeful integration of entrepreneurship into strategy has two key aspects: entrepreneurial strategy and a strategy for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial strategy encompasses discussions and issues regarding the application of creativity and entrepreneurial thinking to the development of a core strategy for an organization. Strategy for entrepreneurship, in contrast, is concerned with the need to develop a strategy to guide entrepreneurial activities taking place within the organization.49 This, however, is based upon the understanding that firms that embrace entrepreneurship outperform firms that fail to focus on entrepreneurship in the long run.50

 
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