Entrepreneurial Orientation and the Handling of Complexity in Small and Medium Enterprise Research

  • Markus BraunEmail author
  • Thomas Steger
Part of the FGF Studies in Small Business and Entrepreneurship book series (FGFS)


Entrepreneurial small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are regularly operating in very complex settings. The methods and tools used by SME research to account for that complexity are commonly derived from only one of both worlds: Either the world of entrepreneurship with its emphasis on personal traits and characteristics of the entrepreneur, or from the world of large corporations and its focus on singular issues, such as processes or organizations. SME research is stuck in the middle, being the step-child of two unlikely parents who live in worlds apart. Specific research, targeted at entrepreneurial small and medium enterprises as a whole, could help to close this gap and to integrate the different approaches in a comprehensive context. A holistic view of the formation and growth process as well as on later stages, using a company-related perspective, is needed in SME research. One approach that could prove helpful is configurational analysis using the concept of Entrepreneurial Orientation. Configurational approaches are helpful particularly in ongoing transformation phases, as common in young companies. Embedding of Entrepreneurial Orientation in the context of the company therefore could establish an instrument that would make it possible to analyze especially small and medium enterprises in all phases of their lifecycle appropriately. The complexity of the enterprise as such as well as of its environment can hereby be described and analyzed in a holistic way, independent of the stage and age of the company, thus providing a bridging of the gap described above.


Configurational analysis Entrepreneurial orientation SME research 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU Chemnitz, Zentrum für Wissens- und TechnologietransferChemnitzGermany
  2. 2.Universität Regensburg, Lehrstuhl für BWL II, insb. Führung und OrganisationRegensburgGermany

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