Three Views of Entrepreneurial Opportunity

  • Saras D. Sarasvathy
  • Nicholas Dew
  • S. Ramakrishna Velamuri
  • Sankaran Venkataraman
Part of the International Handbook Series on Entrepreneurship book series (IHSE, volume 5)


For almost 50 years now, following the trail of issues raised by economists such as Hayek, Schumpeter, Kirzner, and Arrow, researchers have studied the economics of technological change and the problem of allocation of resources for invention (invention being the production of information). The bulk of this literature simply assumes that new technical information will either be traded as a commodity or become embodied in products and services (hereafter called “economic goods”), without addressing any specific mechanisms or processes for the transformation of new information into new economic goods or new economic entities (such as new firms and new markets). It is inside this gap that we begin our quest for the concept of an “entrepreneurial opportunity.”


Discovery Process Creative Process Economic Agent Entrepreneurial Opportunity Market Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Arrow, K. 1962. Economic welfare and the allocation of resources for inventions. In R. Nelson (Ed.), The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arrow, K. J. 1974a. Limited knowledge and economic analysis. American Economic Review, 64(1): 1–10.Google Scholar
  3. Arrow, K. J. 1984. General Equilibrium. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.Google Scholar
  4. Blaug, M. 1985. Economic Theory in Retrospect (4th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. 2000. The Social Life of Information. Boston, MA: Havard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  6. Buchanan, J. M., & Vanberg, V. J. 1991. The market as a creative process. Economics and Philosophy, 7: 167–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burt, R. S. 1992. Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, W., & Levinthal, D. 1990. Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35: 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: Murray.Google Scholar
  10. Debreu, G. 1991. The mathematization of economic theory. American Economic Review, 81: 1–7.Google Scholar
  11. Dewey, J. 1917. The need for a recovery of philosophy. In J. Dewey, A. W. Moore, H. C. Brown, G. H. Mead, B. H. Bode, H. W. Stuart, J. H. Tufts, & H. M. Kallen (Eds.), Creative Intelligence. Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude: 3–69. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  12. Hannan, M. T., & Freeman, J. 1984. Structural inertia and organizational change. American Sociological Review, 49(2): 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayek, F. A. V. 1945. The use of knowledge in society. American Economic Review, 35(4): 519–530.Google Scholar
  14. James, W. 1907. Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. New York: Longmans.Google Scholar
  15. Joas, H. 1996. The Creativity of Action. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kamien, M. I., & Schwartz, N. L. 1975. Market structures and innovation: A survey. Journal of Economic Literature, 13(1): 1–37.Google Scholar
  17. Kipling, R. 1909. Just So Stories for Little Children. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  18. Kirzner, I. 1997. Entrepreneurial discovery and the competitive market process: An Austrian approach. Journal of Economic Literature, 35: 60–85.Google Scholar
  19. Knight, F. 1921. Risk, Uncertainty and Profit (1933 ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  20. Lachmann, L. M. 1976. From mises to shackle: An essay on Austrian economics and the Kaleidic society. Journal of Economic Literature, 14(1).Google Scholar
  21. Langlois, R. N. 1984. Internal organization in a dynamic context: Some theoretical considerations. In M. Jussawalla & H. Ebenfield (Eds.), Communication and Information Economics: New Perspectives: 23–49. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  22. Loasby, B. J. 1999. Knowledge, Institutions, and Evolution in Economics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. March, J. G. 1982. The technology of foolishness. In March J. G. & Olsen J. P. (Eds.), Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  24. March, J. G. 1994. A Primer on Decision Making. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  25. Marshall, A. 1920. Principles of Economics (8th ed.). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. Nelson, R., & Winter, S. 1982. An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Nutter, G. W. 1956. Monopoly, bigness, and progress. Journal of Political Economy, 64(6): 520–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Polanyi, M. 1966. The Tacit Dimension. New York: Doubledge.Google Scholar
  29. Sarasvathy, S. D. 2001a. Causation and effectuation: Towards a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of Management Review, 26(2): 243–288.Google Scholar
  30. Sarasvathy, S. D. 2001b. Effectual reasoning in entrepreneurial decision making: Existence and bounds. Best paper proceedings, Academy of Management 2001. Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  31. Scherer, F. 1967. Market structure and the employment of scientists and engineers. American Economic Review, 57: 524–531.Google Scholar
  32. Schumpeter, J. 1934. The Theory of Economic Development: 128–156. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Schumpeter, J. 1976. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  34. Shackle, G. L. S. 1979. Imagination and the Nature of Choice. Edinbrugh, UK: Edinbrugh University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Shane, S. 2000. Prior knowledge and the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities. Organization Science, 11(4): 448–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Simon, H. A. 1996. The architecture of complexity. Sciences of the Artificial (3rd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Simon, H. A. 1997. Administrative Behavior. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  38. Venkataraman, S. 1997. The distinctive domain of entrepreneurship research. Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 3: 119–138. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  39. Villard, H. H. 1958. Competition, oligopoly, and research. Journal of Political Economy, 66(6): 483–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Von Hippel, E. 1994. Sticky information and the locus of problem solving: Implications for innovation. Management Science, 40(4): 429–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Von Mises, L. 1949. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Walras, L. 1954. Elements of Pure Economics; or, the Theory of Social Wealth. (Trans. W. Jaffe). London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  43. Weick, K. 1979. The Social Psychology of Organizing (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saras D. Sarasvathy
    • 1
  • Nicholas Dew
    • 2
  • S. Ramakrishna Velamuri
    • 3
  • Sankaran Venkataraman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Naval Postgraduate SchoolMontereyUSA
  3. 3.China Europe International Business SchoolShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations