Who am I?
Hi, I'm Bill Wales. Here are some of my links:
Here is a summary of my work on EO (Links updated October 2021)
Abstract: In this study, we theorize how regulatory, normative, and cognitive institutions moderate the entrepreneurial orientation (EO)-performance relationship. We test our hypotheses using data from entrepreneurial ventures in 31 countries. In countries with well-developed legal and financial institutions and where entrepreneurship is normatively supported, entrepreneurs achieve higher returns from an entrepreneurial strategic posture. Institutions positively moderate this relationship through increased resource access, a critical element for innovative entrepreneurial strategies. The effect of institutions is further moderated by the stage of economic development. We advance our understanding of EO by exploring country-level institutional boundary conditions to its value and extend institutional theory through evidence of its moderating effects and interactions with economic development.
Anderson, B., Schuler, J., Baum, M., Wales, W. J., & Gupta, V. (forthcoming). The Chicken or the Egg? Causal Inference in Entrepreneurial Orientation—Performance Research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.
Abstract: While entrepreneurial orientation (EO) correlates with many organizational phenomena, we lack convincing evidence of causal relationships within EO’s nomological network. We explore the challenges to establishing causal relationships with a systematic review of EO–performance research. We then use a simulation to illustrate how popular research designs in EO research limit our ability to make causal claims. We conclude by outlining the research design considerations to move from associational to causal EO–performance research. Our message is that while experiments may not be practical or feasible in many areas of organizational research, including EO, scholars can nevertheless move towards causal understanding.
Note: Offers insight into best practices for conducting EO-performance research.
Bogatyreva, K., Shirokova, G., Wales, W. J., & Germain, R. (forthcoming). Foreign Motivation? International Managerial Exposure and Regional Involvement Effects on Firms' Entrepreneurial Orientation. European Journal of International Management.
Abstract: Despite increasing recognition of the importance of entrepreneurial orientation (EO), insufficient attention has been devoted to international factors which foster EO. In this paper, we examine managerial international exposure and regional involvement in international economic activity as two potential key drivers of firms' EO formation. We explore these focal relationships using a robust sample of 769 manufacturing firms from Russia, a BRIC country and emerging economy that has received relatively scant attention within the literature. Our findings indicate that managerial international exposure increases a firm's EO, and that this effect is weakened as regional involvement in international activity increases.
Wang, T., Malik, S., & Wales., W. J. (2021). When Entrepreneurial Rhetoric Meets Strict Regulations: Implications for the Valuation of Health Science Firms. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Vol 15, pp. 209-230
Abstract: Health science firms have long product development horizons and need regulatory approval for market entry. In communicating with investors, they may use entrepreneurial orientation (EO) rhetoric to emphasize their strategic and behavioral commitment to product innovation and market entry. However, because EO rhetoric constitutes a soft-information signal rather than evidence of substantive commitment, investors may suspect firm insiders using such rhetoric of impression management. The solution, we argue, is EO rhetoric sustained over time, which produces more reliable information for investors—in contrast to occasional increases in EO rhetoric, which invite skeptical scrutiny. Nevertheless, investors' potential concerns regarding changes in EO rhetoric can be mitigated by concurrent hard-information signals that carry signaling costs or penalty costs for false signaling.
Wales, W. J., Kraus, S., Stöckmann, C., Covin, J. G., & Filser, M. (2021). The status quo of research on entrepreneurial orientation: Conversational landmarks and theoretical scaffolding. Journal of Business Research, Vol 128, pp. 564-577.
Abstract: This research aims to gain a deeper appreciation of where the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) conversation has gained momentum based upon an analysis of its key conversational landmarks and the studies which have thus far provided its principal theoretical scaffolding. Drawing upon a bibliometric analysis of 62,499 citations from all 822 publications on EO existing so far, thereby building the most comprehensive overview of EO studies collected to date, we are able to identify which studies, journals, and disciplines have offered critical landmarks within the conversation. Moreover, we categorize these influential landmark studies into four primary areas, namely “Defining pieces”, “Methods and measurement”, “Contingencies”, and “Impact”, and discuss how prominent landmarks within the EO conversation have created the current theoretical scaffolding upon which EO research is now building. Notably, our study observes Schumpeter (1934) theory of entrepreneurship and innovation as ‘creative destruction’ as well as Barney (1991) resource-based view (RBV) as landmarks within EO’s present theoretical scaffolding.
Note: Offers a review of theoretical perspectives employed in past EO research.
Abstract: An original and clarifying conceptualization of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is advanced based upon three fundamental ways in which entrepreneurship can be manifest as an organizational attribute: as top management style, organizational configuration, and new entry initiatives. We leverage this conceptualization to examine the presumed state of irreconcilable differences between the Miller (1983)/Covin and Slevin (1989) and Lumpkin and Dess (1996) conceptualizations of EO. This research proposes that these conceptualizations are reconcilable when the problem is reframed to consider how EO is manifest as an organizational attribute at and across multiple levels of analysis. Like the blind men and the elephant, these works have drawn attention to different aspects of a broader phenomenon. How EO as a multifaceted organizational attribute shapes future scholarly dialogue is discussed.
Note: Offers a foundational conceptualization of EO.
Wales, W. J., Shirokova, G., Beliaeva, T., Stettler, T., & Gupta, V. (2020) Orienting Toward Sales Growth? Decomposing the Variance Attributed to Three Fundamental Organizational Strategic Orientations. Journal of Business Research, Vol 109, 498-510.
Abstract: While firm strategic orientations have received considerable attention, most research has focused on singular orientations without considering their complementarity for firm's outcomes. In this study, we decompose the unique and complementary variance of several strategic orientations – market (MO), entrepreneurial (EO), and learning orientation (LO) – on firm sales growth. Our investigation of the individual unique effects of these orientations reveals that, within our cross-national random sample of 221 firms from Finland and Russia, sales growth is principally driven by EO. Second, our results show, that the complementary or shared effects of EO, MO, and LO explain a significant portion of the variance in sales growth. Building upon past research, we offer evidence that a higher-order construct- proactive learning culture- is supported at the intersection of these fundamental strategic orientations with important implications for future scholarship examining multiple strategic orientations.
Beliaeva, T., Shirokova, G., Wales, W. J., & Gafforova, E. (2020). Benefiting from Economic Crisis? Strategic Orientation Effects, Trade-offs, and Configurations with Resource Availability on SME Performance. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 16, 165-194.
Abstract: While there is growing interest in exploring strategic orientations, their interaction, and impact on firm performance, most research has been conducted within stable economic environments. Taking into consideration economic instability, it is timely to develop a more nuanced understanding of how economic crises may affect key strategic orientation prescriptions. In this research, we examine entrepreneurial and market orientations as means through which firms may operate within an economic crisis to seize available opportunities. Additionally, we consider how increasing financial resource availability during macro-economic constraint may affect these relationships. Based on a rare, and robust national random sample of 612 Russian small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collected during a recent period of economic crisis in 2015–2016, our results reveal a positive effect of entrepreneurial orientation and a non-significant effect of market orientation. Moreover, we demonstrate how financial resource availability in concert with firms’ strategic orientations yields distinctly more, and less, productive configurations.
Abstract: Among healthcare professionals, burnout is one of the key challenges affecting organizational outcomes, employee productivity and quality of care. The knowledge of burnout and its root causes and primary contributors continues to grow yet remains limited. In many environments, an entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has been shown to dramatically improve organizational outcomes and performance. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate critical research areas at the intersection of organizational EO and employee burnout within the healthcare sector.
Abstract: Research on the topic of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) continues to proliferate. Nonetheless, the conceptualization and measurement of this construct are matters of ongoing discussion and debate, and construct-specific advice with respect to the generation high value-added EO research is sparse. This editorial is aimed at providing guidance to EO researchers in three areas: (a) EO’s conceptualization(s) and position as they relate to the larger set of corporate entrepreneurship related constructs, (b) EO’s measurement challenges and possibilities, and (c) suggested guidance and directions for future EO research.
Note: Offers an editorial on future EO research directions.
Abstract: The last few years have witnessed a significant increase in academic research examining entrepreneurial orientation (EO), with scholarship on this topic being regularly published internationally. This special issue addresses the need to develop a deeper understanding of EO in the global context. Globalisation and the growing popularity of entrepreneurship worldwide have motivated interest in understanding the manifestation and application of EO in diverse socio-cultural contexts. It is our hope that this special issue helps illuminate and advance important areas of study in the international and cross-cultural EO literature, especially those that have remained under-examined thus far. We believe that the impact of future research on EO within international contexts depends upon the ability of the scholars to build upon past research. As it happens, this special issue is a celebration of the 30-year anniversary of the foundational work of Covin and Slevin that paved the way for the systematic investigation of EO.
Note: Offers an editorial on EO within international research.
Laskovaia, A., Marino, L., Shirokova, G., & Wales, W. J. (2019). Expect the Unexpected: Examining the Critical Shaping Role of Entrepreneurial Orientation on Causal vs. Effectual Managerial Logic during Economic Crisis. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Vol 31, 456-475.
Abstract: While many firms operate in dynamic environments, the competitive conditions faced by firms during an economic crisis are especially unstable and turbulent. We examine firm strategic decision-making in this distinctive context and investigate the question of whether causal and effectual logic provide similar paths to performance during such challenging economic times. Further, we examine the potential impact that a firm’s level of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has upon the relationship between managers’ predominant decision-making logic and their firm’s overall performance in this crisis. To test these relationships, we employ a robust national random sample of 447 Russian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collected from 2015 to 2016 during a period of economic crisis. Our results indicate that EO plays an important moderating role, shaping the nature of the relationships between managers’ decision-making logic and financial performance. Moreover, additional analysis identifies the presence of a non-linear relationship between both logics and the performance of SMEs.
Wales, W. J., Cox, K., Lortie, J., & Sproul, C. (2019). Blowing Smoke? How Early-Stage Investors Interpret Hopeful Discourse within Entrepreneurially Oriented Business Plans. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Vol 9, 3, pp. 1-16.
Abstract: This study examines how written expressions of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and hope may affect investor evaluations of funding potential in business plan competitions. To understand why some firms are evaluated more favorably, we combine screening and signaling theory when analyzing early-stage venture-investor communication. Findings support that expressions of EO while business planning contribute to greater expressions of hope to cope with the Knightian uncertainty when developing new business models. Results suggest that the impact of hopeful dialogue on investor impressions of fundability critically depends upon the presence or absence of past founder financial investment. Implications for future research are discussed.
Kearney, C., Soleimanof, S., & Wales, W. J. (2018). Examining Facilitative Configurations of Entrepreneurially Oriented Growth: An Information Processing Perspective. British Journal of Management, 29(3), 514-533.
Abstract: This study examines how the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and firm growth is shaped by learning orientation in technologically sophisticated environments. We draw upon an information processing perspective that emphasizes alignment between information processing demands and support mechanisms. Using data from 116 small to medium-sized enterprises in the Netherlands, we observe that the ability of entrepreneurial orientation to drive firm growth greatly depends on the joint consideration of technological sophistication and learning orientation. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of how configurations of strategic orientations and environmental considerations work in concert to influence the efficacy of organizational entrepreneurial efforts dramatically.
Note: Provides an example of configuration-based EO research.
Gupta, V., & Wales, W. J. (2017). Assessing Organisational Performance within Entrepreneurial Orientation Research: Where Have We Been and Where Can We Go From Here?, Journal of Entrepreneurship, Vol 26, pp. 51-76.
Abstract: Firm performance is a crucial aspect of research within the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) literature. Yet, only limited attention has been devoted to examining the range of performance targets and considerations in the EO literature. As a result, tendencies and biases in how firm performance is captured in EO studies are not well understood. The present study analyses the treatment of firm performance in a 25-year sample of EO research. Our state-of-the-science analysis reveals a tendency to develop novel combinative measures of performance within the EO literature. Additionally, a limited understanding of operational performance effects is evidenced in the sample. Finally, we observe a crucial need to investigate more tightly defined performance consequences stemming from EO. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Note: Provides an overview of organizational performance measures investigated within past EO research.
Abstract: This review article analyzes and synthesizes key research on the topic of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in a scholarly effort to provide an integrative guide which enables researchers to more readily assimilate influential works on EO and thereby more productively contribute to the ever-evolving EO conversation in the literature. The article reviews and synthesizes promising directions in the EO research domain from a variety of perspectives, including how EO is manifest, how building on the Miller/Covin and Slevin conceptualization facilitates knowledge accumulation, which theories have been suggested as relevant to advancing the EO conversation, EO model building directions including the demand for longitudinal research, measurement considerations and implications, and the enduring unanswered call for qualitative research.
Note: Provides a comprehensive overview of EO research.
Wales, W. J., Shirokova, G., Sokolova, L., & Stein, C. (2016). Entrepreneurial Orientation in the Emerging Russian Regulatory Context: The Criticality of Interpersonal Relationships. European Journal of International Management, 10, 359-382.
Abstract: The present research examines the understudied impact of the regulatory environment on the manifestation of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) among firms within an emerging market context. Results from an exploratory sample of 432 Russian small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) suggest that key aspects of the regulatory environment may deserve further attention in future research. Controlling for the level of compliance by a given Russian SME, the perceived protection of private property rights was observed to have a marginally significant direct positive effect, whereas the perceived strength of contract law is shown to exhibit a marginal negative relationship with EO among Russian SMEs. In terms of operating within this emerging regulatory context, the perceived availability of governmental contracts had a marginal positive effect on EO. Finally, stressing the importance of who you know is more important than what you know, relationships with government officials had a very strong positive effect on EO.
Note: Among the few studies to examine EO within Russia (and BRIC countries).
Shahzad, A., Wales, W. J., Sharfman, M., & Stein, C. M. (2016). Casting a wider performance net: The role of entrepreneurial orientation in boosting overall firm stakeholder value. Journal of Management & Organization, 22, 272-290.
Abstract: This study offers a broader perspective on the effects of entrepreneurial orientation beyond its well-established implications for firm financial performance. Herein, it is suggested that through higher firm innovativeness, risk taking, and proactiveness entrepreneurial orientation contributes to an increase in the overall value accrued by the firm’s base of stakeholders. In doing so, we offer a broader perspective on the significance of an entrepreneurial orientation strategic posture for increasing stakeholder value beyond simply the financial value captured by firm shareholding stakeholders. Results from a comprehensive sample of 1,015 public US corporations indicate significant relationships between the three core dimensions of entrepreneurial orientation (innovativeness, risk taking, proactiveness) and stakeholder value, suggesting that how organizations behave entrepreneurially plays an important role in the firms generation of stakeholder value.
Note: Helps expand EO's performance consequences into the corporate social performance space.
Wales, W. J., Wiklund, J., & McKelvie, A. (2015). What about New Entry? Examining the Theorized Role of New Entry in Entrepreneurial Orientation Research. International Small Business Journal, 33, 351-373.
Abstract: It has been well over a decade since Lumpkin and Dess first suggested new entry to represent the principal outcome of an entrepreneurial orientation (EO). Yet, little consideration has been given to the implications of conceptualizing new entry as a phenomenon distinct from EO. This article draws attention to inconsistent assumptions concerning the role of new entry across the two dominant conceptualizations of EO, discusses empirical challenges with exploring new entry as an outcome of EO, and provides a longitudinal test of the causal chain linking EO to future new entry behaviors and eventual performance outcomes.
Note: Encourages future research linking EO to various forms of new entry.
Abstract: This study examines the influence of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) on the amount of capital raised by a young technology firm at the time of its initial public offering (IPO). We draw on signaling theory and an exploration–exploitation theoretical perspective to develop insights concerning the influence of EO upon IPO valuation. Results indicate a negative relationship between EO, as signaled within the firm prospectus, and IPO value. Moreover, top management team (TMT) external board activities are found to moderate the EO–IPO value relationship. With TMT external board activities, a more pronounced negative relationship is indicated. However, without TMT external board activities, stronger EO signals are found to positively impact the amount of funds raised at IPO. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Note: Examines EO using two methods of computer-aided text analysis (CATA).
Abstract: Building upon the perspective that narcissism is a leadership trait with both ‘bright’ and ‘dark’ sides, the present study examines the question of whether companies led by narcissistic CEOs exhibit higher levels of entrepreneurial orientation (EO). Moreover, this research examines whether EO partially explains why narcissistic CEO-led firms experience greater variability in firm performance. Using survey data collected from 173 CEOs, and an archival measure of firm performance variance, we find support for our model. These findings offer an improved understanding of how CEO narcissism influences performance variance, and why the firms they lead may even, at times, be viewed as on a path to success. Study implications are discussed.
Note: This study is in line with past research which demonstrates that managers play an important role in the development of a firm’s entrepreneurial orientation. For example, when CEO’s are more narcissistic, their organizations tend to be more entrepreneurially-oriented (Wales, Patel, and Lumpkin, 2013).
Wales, W. J., Parida, V., & Patel, P. (2013). Too Much of a Good thing? Absorptive Capacity, Firm Performance, and the Moderating Role of Entrepreneurial Orientation. Strategic Management Journal, 34, 622-633.
Abstract: Absorptive capacity (ACAP) refers to a firm's ability to acquire, assimilate, transform, and exploit new knowledge. Research has yet to acknowledge the possibility of limits to the financial returns of this important strategic construct. This study suggests an inverted-U shaped relationship between ACAP and financial performance. Based on data from 285 technology-based small and medium enterprises, we observe gains within three prospective, secondary measures of growth to diminish beyond lower levels of ACAP, even turning negative and becoming harmful beyond intermediate levels. We find that entrepreneurial orientation (EO) moderates the ACAP-performance relationship, enhancing financial gains at lower levels of ACAP and mitigating the decline in financial performance at higher levels of ACAP. Further, with higher EO, higher ACAP can be achieved before financial returns diminish.
Note: This study suggest that a firms’ ability to absorb and productively utilize new knowledge for financial gain has limits, and that EO increases these limits allowing firms to achieve higher levels of financial performance before the diminishing returns to knowledge absorption begin (Wales, Parida, and Patel, 2013).
Wales, W. J., Patel, P., Parida, V., & Kreiser, P. (2013). Non-linear Effects of Entrepreneurial Orientation on Small Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of Resource Orchestration Capabilities. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,7, 93-121.
Abstract: This research examines the nature of the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and small firm performance. The results from a sample of 258 Swedish small firms indicate an inverted U-shaped relationship between EO and small firm performance. Drawing upon resource orchestration theory, we theorize that information and communication technology capability and network capability help small firms overcome their resource-related ‘liabilities of smallness’ and observe these capabilities to increase the optimal levels and performance-related returns from EO. In the absence of these capabilities, returns to firm performance from increasing EO were observed to reach harmful levels. The study implications are discussed.
Note: This study suggests that even a limited amount of EO may be all that is needed to improve firm performance at times -- for instance, in resource constrained contexts such as small firms (Wales, Patel, Parida,and Kreiser, 2013).
Abstract: Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is one of the most widely accepted firm-level constructs in the literature. The present study provides a comprehensive qualitative review and evaluation of the empirical EO literature. It finds that EO research has made considerable strides in recent years and is accelerating and broadening, although notable biases and inconsistencies in variable choice and model specification remain. The article sheds light on the popularity of Miller’s unidimensional conceptualization of EO, as well as the rise in multidimensional explorations of the phenomenon. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of the study’s findings for EO-related research and practice.
Note: Provides a thorough overview of the previous empirical literature examining the EO concept.
Hornsby, J. S., Holt, D. T., Kuratko, D. F., & Wales, W. J., (2013). Assessing a Measurement of Organizational Preparedness for Corporate Entrepreneurship. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(5), 937-955.
Note: EO was used to help assess the convergent validity of the neighboring CEAI instrument.
Abstract: This article examines the effects of managerial practice and philosophy variables – high-performance work systems (HPWS) and partnership philosophy – on the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and sales growth. The results from a sample of 119 young high-technology firms indicate a non-significant relationship between EO and firm growth. However, firms combining HPWS or partnership philosophy with EO realized significantly higher levels of growth. Specifically, the results suggest that the promise of EO as a means of enhancing the growth trajectories of young firms depends on the extent to which these organizations embrace and establish certain human resource practices and philosophies.
Note: This study suggests that firms tend to get the most out of their EO when they have developed complementary capabilities, such as human resource management systems, and when they have embraced certain ideals, such as a philosophy of partnership between managers and employees (Messersmith and Wales, 2013).
Abstract: This article explores how the concept of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has been portrayed and assessed in prior research. The challenges and decision criteria associated with formative versus reflective measurement approaches are reviewed. It is argued that, as a latent construct, EO exists apart from its measures and that researchers are free to choose whichever measurement approach best serves their research purposes, recognizing that unidimensional versus multidimensional EO measurement models are consistent with fundamentally different conceptualizations of the EO construct. Recommendations are offered regarding potentially appropriate formative and reflective measures of EO.
Note: In addition to exploring the measurement of EO, this study examines the foundations of the EO concept and provides a table of past definitions of EO (Table 1, p. 679). This study also compares the Miller/Covin and Slevin (1989) and Lumpkin and Dess (1996) conceptualizations of EO in the beginning of the manuscript (p. 677-681).
Abstract Excerpt: This paper aims to explore the effects of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) on firm survival and examine whether founder chief executive officers (CEOs) are more effective than other types of managers at utilizing entrepreneurial orientation at initial public offerings (IPOs). The paper shows that entrepreneurial orientation enhances long‐term survival in IPO firms. Survival is an important, though generally overlooked consideration in EO research. The paper also concludes that firms with founder CEOs are more likely to value and implement EO.
Note: This study suggests that when an entrepreneurially-oriented firm’s founder is also its CEO the company tends to survive significantly longer following its initial public offering (Mousa and Wales, 2012).
Abstract: While 30 years of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) research has demonstrated that EO provides critical insights into questions of organizational-level strategy and performance, how EO manifests inside organizations has received little attention. Instead of assuming that EO is homogeneous, we examine the questions of how and why EO might pervade organizations heterogeneously along three dimensions: vertically across hierarchy levels, horizontally across business units, and temporally as an organization develops. We then present three models for how EO can dynamically pervade organizations and discuss how examining the pervasiveness of EO can further our understanding of entrepreneurship as an organizational phenomenon.
Note: This study emphasizes the need for greater research examining how EO is manifest within organizations, at lower managerial levels and across differing organizational business units and functional areas.
Lumpkin, G. T., Wales, W. J., & Ensley, M. D. (2006). Assessing the Context for Corporate Entrepreneurship: The Role of Entrepreneurial Orientation. In T. Habbershon & M. Rice (Eds.), Praeger Perspectives on Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3.
Book Chapter Excerpt: The effectiveness of EO depends to a great extent on the contexts in which organizational activity takes place. Within organizations, the efforts of top management teams, the culture which such teams and other organizational members foster, and the organizational structures that support CE efforts largely define the internal context of corporate entrepreneurship. Beyond the organization’s boundaries, factors in the business environment and elements of national cultural are likely to heavily influence how an organization achieves CE outcomes. This chapter addresses how various corporate settings provide a context for firm entrepreneurial behaviors and processes. Using EO as a research framework, we investigate how corporate entrepreneurial behavior relates to five different organizational contexts—top management teams, organizational structures, organizational culture, environment, and national culture. Implications of the EO-context relationship are discussed as well as possible future research directions.