Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

Two interpretations of entrepreneurship

Posted in Management by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on July 26, 2008

I came across two interpretations of entrepreneurship that interested me recently. I read the first in the Harvard Business Review article Designing High-Performance Jobs:

In fact, entrepreneurship has been defined (by Howard H. Stevenson and J. Carlos Jarillo) as “the process by which individuals—either on their own or inside organizations—pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control.”

The second comes from a fascinating PhD thesis Enterpreneurship and the Market Process which sees a “relationship between scientific and market processes not just that of analogy, for the growth of knowledge is the subject of both”. In the book of his thesis David Harper says:

Like scientific enterprise, entrepreneurship is described essentially as a problem-solving activity which must be conceived in terms of human ends and purposes. Like science, the market is regarded as an inter-subjective and pluralistic process for generating conjectures, exchanging and promoting ideas and attempting to refute them. Both learning processes require conventions, many of which have evolved spontaneously, to facilitate the efficient production, coordination and criticism of knowledge.

Knowledge, for entrepeneurs, is what customers want and how to get it to them. There is a scientific analogy here, with falsifiable hypotheses as entrepreneurs prefer to try the product in the market to see if customers exist who would pay for it, rather than the traditional approach I have seen by “business” people who create PowerPoint presentations to theorize over the existence of those customers.

I spent the last couple of days walking around Cambridge, my new home, as I decide what to focus my new company on. I am getting lots of ideas, but these two definitions of entrepreneurship are intriguing me.

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