Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 59–82 | Cite as

How do entrepreneurs know what to do? learning and organizing in new ventures

Regular Article


Acquiring the knowledge they need to organize new businesses is a life-long learning process for nascent entrepreneurs, both before and during the organizing process. We argue that creating viable and profitable ventures depends not only on the habits, heuristics, and routines that nascent entrepreneurs have acquired from family, schools, and work careers prior to the startup stage, but also on what they can learn by doing, borrowing, and experimenting during the startup process. Entrepreneurs without effective habits or heuristics, or who have acquired less knowledge or fewer routines, may not be able to learn fast enough from feedback during the startup process to avoid being selected out. We conclude the paper by offering critical questions and a research agenda for learning and organizing in new ventures.


Evolution Entrepreneurship Learning Routines Heuristics Habits 

JEL Classification

B52 Institutional Evolutionary 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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