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A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: insights on influencing factors

Abstract

In the last three decades, research studies investigating how individuals recognize entrepreneurial opportunities have advanced rapidly and have become a key topic in the modern entrepreneurship literature. To advance this important concern further, we present a systematic literature review of the entrepreneurial opportunity research field and its status. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this research suggests that the field is fragmented and empirically underdeveloped. A comprehensive literature analysis shows that only a handful of authors have contributed specifically to developing dialogues related to opportunity recognition and that the topic is considered primarily as an ancillary issue by many authors and academic journals. Based on analyzing 180 articles, we classify existing contributions into six influential factors: prior knowledge, social capital, cognition/personality traits, environmental conditions, alertness, and systematic search. Moreover, by developing a framework, we communicate critical insights regarding the opportunity recognition process. The contribution of individual articles to the proposed factors is presented in a research synthesis table. We conclude by presenting several directions for future research related to opportunity recognition.

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Mary George, N., Parida, V., Lahti, T. et al. A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: insights on influencing factors. Int Entrep Manag J 12, 309–350 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-014-0347-y

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Keywords

  • Entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Opportunity recognition
  • Opportunity identification
  • Opportunity exploitation
  • Opportunity discovery
  • Opportunity creation