Entrepreneurial Orientation : Multilevel analysis and Consequences

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


    Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has become one of the most important foci within the domain of entrepreneurship research. EO is distinguished from entrepreneurship, which is generally studied in relation to new entry, by its focus on the processes, practices, and decision-making activities that define an organization as entrepreneurial (Lumpkin and Dess 1996). Through entrepreneurial processes and a systematic search for new opportunities, EO infuses established organizations with the flexibility and innovativeness that is commonly associated with small (entrepreneurial) organizations. EO emerges from a strategic-choice perspective and the study of EO is strongly related to that of entrepreneurial management. EO research is, however, also criticized, as practitioners often experience severe difficulties while implementing EO in organizations and since empirical studies sometimes fail to establish a clear relationship between EO and organizational performance. This dissertation uses a multilevel perspective to further investigate the value of entrepreneurial orientation and how it can be promoted throughout the organization. Three different levels that are relevant to EO management are included in the research design. The operating environment of an organization is defined as the macro level, while the organization and the individuals/teams that work within the organization are defined as, respectively, the meso and micro level. Including the team and individual level allows for a more detailed analysis of the underlying processes and foundations of organizational success. First, a top-manager/firm owner perspective is used to study the value of an entrepreneurial orientation strategy in different industries and under turbulent market conditions. Here the results mainly highlight the value of an entrepreneurial strategy in different industries, but also show that managers constantly have to rethink and adapt their strategy as market circumstances change. In the second part of the dissertation, the entrepreneurial orientation of teams and employees becomes the object of study. So far, research has been unable to provide a definitive answer to the question how entrepreneurial orientation creates sustainable advantages and improved firm growth. The present dissertation aims to answer this question by including the individual level in its analysis. The results from the individual level analysis show that EO is not purely dominated by strategic orientations, but rather an interplay between strategic management, organizational design and the collective body of human resources that is available within the organization.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Utrecht University
    • Kraus, G.S., Primary supervisor
    • Stam, Erik, Supervisor
    Award date11 Oct 2013
    Print ISBNs978-90-816238-9-6
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2013


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