Research on Entrepreneurial Orientation A Firm-Level Strategic Posture

Entrepreneurial Orientation Research

Entrepreneurial orientation has become one of the most established and researched concepts in all of entrepreneurship research. This, of course, raises the question...

What is Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO)?

Succinctly, EO describes when one organization is being more entrepreneurial than another.

Firms are described as having EO when they support and manifest entrepreneurial behavior with sufficient regularity for this behavior to become a defining organizational characteristic and attribute (Covin & Wales, 2018). As an organizational attribute, EO permeates a firm’s managerial philosophies, decision-making practices, and strategic behavior (Anderson, Covin, and Slevin, 2009). Entrepreneurially-oriented firms support and exhibit a sustained pattern of new entry over time that is generally characterized by innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking (Wales, 2016). These and other dimensions may be explored in aggregate or isolation (Covin & Wales, 2012), though scholars recommend reporting both aggregate and individual effects (Miller, 2011; Wales, 2016)
Anderson, B. S., Covin, J. G., & Slevin, D. P. (2009). Understanding the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and strategic learning capability: an empirical investigation. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 3(3), 218-240.

Covin, J. G., & Wales, W. J. (2018, in press). Crafting high-impact entrepreneurial orientation research: Some suggested guidelines. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice.

Covin, J. G., & Wales, W. J. (2012). The Measurement of Entrepreneurial Orientation. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 36(4), 677-702.

Miller, D. (2011). Miller (1983) Revisited: A Reflection on EO Research and Some Suggestions for the Future. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 35(5), 873-894.

Wales, W. J. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation: A review and synthesis of promising research directions. International Small Business Journal, 34, 3-15.

Entrepreneurial Orientation, an excerpt from the Sage Encyclopedia of Management Theory:
Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is among the most important and established concepts within the field of entrepreneurship and domain of managerial inquiry. The central premise of EO is that an organization can be considered more (or less) entrepreneurial as a collective entity. The notion of firm-level entrepreneurship represents a clear demarcation from the well established tradition of investigating entrepreneurship as an individual-level phenomenon. The underlying motivation for the concept of EO is the need to theoretically separate firms based upon their entrepreneurial strategy-making processes and behaviors to facilitate scientific research into entrepreneurial phenomenon across organizations. As such, EO allows for distancing the intentions and attitudes of organizational members from the organization’s overall behavioral orientation towards entrepreneurship. EO posits that all organizations fall somewhere along a conceptual continuum ranging from conservative (the “low” end) to entrepreneurial (the “high” end). Where an organization places within this conceptual continuum depends upon the extent to which the organization’s strategy-making processes have produced a stable firm-level entrepreneurial behavioral pattern. EO research has provided managers with critical insights into how firms may effectively leverage entrepreneurial strategy-making processes and behaviors to achieve important organizational goals such as growth and renewal.
Wales, W. J. (2013). Entrepreneurial Orientation. In E. H. Kessler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Management Theory (Vol. 1): Sage Publications.

if you are new to EO research, here is a primer on where to start, how to measure EO, and about me.