Entrepreneurial opportunity is the core construct of entrepreneurship research. It is an urgent research issue to clarify the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and its embedded entrepreneurial context. However, the mechanism of the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context has not been clearly explained in the extant research, which has become a major obstacle to the development of entrepreneurial theory. Based on the connotations of entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context, this paper reviews the research on the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context from such three views as opportunity discovery, creation and integration, and puts forward the limitations of the extant research. Thus, this paper integrates the discovery view and creation view to clarify the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and the essence of entrepreneurial context — uncertainty, and based on this, creates an integrated framework of interaction between entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context uncertainty from the perspective of multi-actor interaction. In this regard, first of all, this paper argues that instead of debating whether the nature of entrepreneurial opportunity is discovery or creation, it is better to focus on the actual decisions and actions of entrepreneurs, and distinguishes discovery opportunity from creation opportunity by results of actions. Then, this paper proposes that discovery opportunity and creation opportunity can be transformed along the entrepreneurial process, and the entrepreneurial process includes both discovery and creation. Finally, from the perspective of multi-actor interaction, this paper proposes that the interaction between objective entrepreneurial context and cognitive entrepreneurial context uncertainty is an important force to promote the transformation of entrepreneurial opportunities. The theoretical contribution of this paper is mainly reflected in the following aspects. Firstly, this paper proposes to classify the entrepreneurial context uncertainty from such two dimensions as goals and means, which provides a new way to explore the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context uncertainty. Secondly, this paper analyzes the mechanism between objective entrepreneurial context uncertainty, cognitive entrepreneurial context uncertainty and discovery/creation opportunity, which provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial context. Thirdly, this paper breaks through the limitations of single-actor perspective and static research, and reveals the dynamic mechanism that entrepreneurial opportunity interacts with entrepreneurial context uncertainty to promote the transformation of entrepreneurial opportunities from the perspective of multi-actor interaction.
Entrepreneurial Opportunity and Entrepreneurial Context: An Integrated Framework
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 44, Issue 04, pp. 18 - 33 (2022) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.20211102.101
 Cai L, Ge B S, Cai Y R. Entrepreneurial opportunity and resource development behavior of entrepreneurial firms: A study from China's transitional economy[J]. Quarterly Journal of Management, 2019, 4(2): 44-62.
 Cai L, Lu X F, Shan B A, et al. Does discovery opportunity and creation opportunity transform into each other?: Based on multi-actors perspective[J]. Journal of Management World, 2018, 34(12): 81-94.
 Cai L, Shan B A. Entrepreneurship research in the Chinese context: Review and prospect[J]. Journal of Management World, 2013, 29(12): 160-169.
 Lin S. Review and prospect of entrepreneurial context research[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2012, 34(7): 35-41.
 Wang C Y, Zhang H L. A research on the uncertainty of entrepreneurial context and responding[J]. Shanghai Economy, 2017, (2): 67-75.
 Wang W Y, Li Q W. A review of the relationship between context uncertainty and entrepreneurial activity[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2007, 29(3): 53-58.
 Zhang Y L, Qu Y, Yun L X. A summary of management research and entrepreneurship research themes in the Chinese context[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2014, 36(1): 65-72.
 Zhang Y L, Xie W. Chinese economic reform, business venturing and entrepreneurship[J]. Nankai Business Review, 2018, 21(5): 4-9.
 Aldrich H E, Cliff J E. The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: Toward a family embeddedness perspective[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2003, 18(5): 573-596.
 Alvarez S A, Barney J B. Discovery and creation: Alternative theories of entrepreneurial action[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2007, 1(1-2): 11-26.
 Alvarez S A, Barney J B. Entrepreneurial opportunities and poverty alleviation[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2014, 38(1): 159-184.
 Alvarez S A, Barney J B, Anderson P. Forming and exploiting opportunities: The implications of discovery and creation processes for entrepreneurial and organizational research[J]. Organization Science,2013, 24(1): 301-317.
 Alvarez S A, Barney J B, McBride R, et al. Realism in the study of entrepreneurship[J]. Academy of Management Review,2014, 39(2): 227-231.
 Alvarez S A, Young S L, Woolley J L. Opportunities and institutions: A co-creation story of the king crab industry[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2015, 30(1): 95-112.
 Andresen E, Lundberg H, Wincent J. Processes in collaborative entrepreneurship: A longitudinal case study of how multiple actors exploit a radically new opportunity[J]. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal,2014, 10(4): 713-726.
 Autio E, Nambisan S, Thomas L D W, et al. Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2018, 12(1): 72-95.
 Baas M, De Dreu C K W, Nijstad B A. When prevention promotes creativity: The role of mood, regulatory focus, and regulatory closure[J]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,2011, 100(5): 794-809.
 Berglund H, Bousfiha M, Mansoori Y. Opportunities as artifacts and entrepreneurship as design[J]. Academy of Management Review,2020, 45(4): 825-846.
 Bruton G D, Zahra S A, Cai L. Examining entrepreneurship through indigenous lenses[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2018, 42(3): 351-361.
 Burns B L, Barney J B, Angus R W, et al. Enrolling stakeholders under conditions of risk and uncertainty[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2016, 10(1): 97-106.
 Carlsson B, Braunerhjelm P, McKelvey M, et al. The evolving domain of entrepreneurship research[J]. Small Business Economics,2013, 41(4): 913-930.
 Choi Y R, Shepherd D A. Stakeholder perceptions of age and other dimensions of newness[J]. Journal of Management,2005, 31(4): 573-596.
 David R J, Sine W D, Haveman H A. Seizing opportunity in emerging fields: How institutional entrepreneurs legitimated the professional form of management consulting[J]. Organization Science,2013, 24(2): 356-377.
 Davidsson P. Entrepreneurial opportunities and the entrepreneurship nexus: A re-conceptualization[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2015, 30(5): 674-695.
 Dean T J, McMullen J S. Toward a theory of sustainable entrepreneurship: Reducing environmental degradation through entrepreneurial action[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2007, 22(1): 50-76.
 Dess G G, Beard D W. Dimensions of organizational task environments[J]. Administrative Science Quarterly,1984, 29(1): 52-73.
 DeTienne D R, Shepherd D A, De Castro J O. The fallacy of “only the strong survive”: The effects of extrinsic motivation on the persistence decisions for under-performing firms[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2008, 23(5): 528-546.
 Dimov D. From opportunity insight to opportunity intention: The importance of person-situation learning match[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2007, 31(4): 561-583.
 Eckhardt J T, Shane S A. Opportunities and entrepreneurship[J]. Journal of Management,2003, 29(3): 333-349.
 Edelman L, Yli-Renko H. The impact of environment and entrepreneurial perceptions on venture-creation efforts: Bridging the discovery and creation views of entrepreneurship[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2010, 34(5): 833-856.
 Fischer E, Reuber A R. Social interaction via new social media: How can interactions on Twitter affect effectual thinking and behavior?[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2011, 26(1): 1-18.
 Fisher G. Effectuation, causation, and bricolage: A behavioral comparison of emerging theories in entrepreneurship research[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2012, 36(5): 1019-1051.
 Foss N J, Klein P G, Bjørnskov C. The context of entrepreneurial judgment: Organizations, markets, and institutions[J]. Journal of Management Studies,2019, 56(6): 1197-1213.
 Gartner W B, Carter N M, Hills G E. The language of opportunity[A]. Steyaert C, Hjorth D. New movements in entrepreneurship[M]. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2003: 103-124.
 Ghio N, Guerini M, Rossi-Lamastra C. The creation of high-tech ventures in entrepreneurial ecosystems: Exploring the interactions among university knowledge, cooperative banks, and individual attitudes[J]. Small Business Economics,2019, 52(2): 523-543.
 Helin J, Hernes T, Hjorth D, et al. The Oxford handbook of process philosophy and organization studies[M]. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
 Hmieleski K M, Baron R A. Regulatory focus and new venture performance: A study of entrepreneurial opportunity exploitation under conditions of risk versus uncertainty[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2008, 2(4): 285-299.
 Hmieleski K M, Carr J C, Baron R A. Integrating discovery and creation perspectives of entrepreneurial action: The relative roles of founding CEO human capital, social capital, and psychological capital in contexts of risk versus uncertainty[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2015, 9(4): 289-312.
 Kirzner I M. Competition and entrepreneurship[M]. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.
 Kirzner I M. Perception, opportunity, and profit: Studies in the theory of entrepreneurship[M]. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.
 Kirzner I M. The meaning of market process[M]. London: Routledge, 1992.
 Klein P G. Opportunity discovery, entrepreneurial action, and economic organization[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2008, 2(3): 175-190.
 Ma R, Huang Y C, Shenkar O. Social networks and opportunity recognition: A cultural comparison between Taiwan and the United States[J]. Strategic Management Journal,2011, 32(11): 1183-1205.
 McMullen J S, Dimov D. Time and the entrepreneurial journey: The problems and promise of studying entrepreneurship as a process[J]. Journal of Management Studies,2013, 50(8): 1481-1512.
 McMullen J S, Shepherd D A. Entrepreneurial action and the role of uncertainty in the theory of the entrepreneur[J]. Academy of Management Review,2006, 31(1): 132-152.
 Miles R E, Snow C C. Organizational strategy, structure, and process[M]. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978.
 Miller J I. The mortality problem of learning and mimetic practice in emerging industries: Dying to be legitimate[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2012, 6(1): 59-88.
 Mole K F, Mole M. Entrepreneurship as the structuration of individual and opportunity: A response using a critical realist perspective: Comment on Sarason, Dean and Dillard[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2010, 25(2): 230-237.
 Nambisan S, Siegel D, Kenney M. On open innovation, platforms, and entrepreneurship[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2018, 12(3): 354-368.
 Navis C, Ozbek O V. Why context matters: Overconfidence, narcissism, and the role of objective uncertainty in entrepreneurship[J]. Academy of Management Review,2017, 42(1): 148-153.
 Nonaka I, Toyama R, Nagata A. A firm as a knowledge-creating entity: A new perspective on the theory of the firm[J]. Industrial and Corporate Change,2000, 9(1): 1-20.
 Packard M D, Clark B B, Klein P G. Uncertainty types and transitions in the entrepreneurial process[J]. Organization Science,2017, 28(5): 840-856.
 Plummer L A, Haynie J M, Godesiabois J. An essay on the origins of entrepreneurial opportunity[J]. Small Business Economics,2007, 28(4): 363-379.
 Ramoglou S, Tsang E W K. A realist perspective of entrepreneurship: Opportunities as propensities[J]. Academy of Management Review,2016, 41(3): 410-434.
 Sarasvathy S D. Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency[J]. Academy of Management Review,2001, 26(2): 243-263.
 Schmitt A, Rosing K, Zhang S X, et al. A dynamic model of entrepreneurial uncertainty and business opportunity identification: Exploration as a mediator and entrepreneurial self-efficacy as a moderator[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2018, 42(6): 835-859.
 Schumpeter J A. The creative response in economic history[J]. The Journal of Economic History,1947, 7(2): 149-159.
 Schumpeter J A, Clemence R V, Swedberg R. Economic theory and entrepreneurial history[A]. Wohl R R. Change and the entrepreneur. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1949.
 Shackle G L S. Expectation in economics[M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1949.
 Shackle G L S. Decision order and time in human affairs[M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961.
 Shane S. Reflections on the 2010 AMR decade award: Delivering on the promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research[J]. Academy of Management Review,2012, 37(1): 10-20.
 Shane S, Venkataraman S. The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research[J]. The Academy of Management Review,2000, 25(1): 217-226.
 Stenholm P, Acs Z J, Wuebker R. Exploring country-level institutional arrangements on the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2013, 28(1): 176-193.
 Suddaby R, Bruton G D, Si S X. Entrepreneurship through a qualitative lens: Insights on the construction and/or discovery of entrepreneurial opportunity[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2015, 30(1): 1-10.
 Vaghely I P, Julien P A. Are opportunities recognized or constructed? An information perspective on entrepreneurial opportunity identification[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2010, 25(1): 73-86.
 Webb J W, Kistruck G M, Ireland R D, et al. The entrepreneurship process in base of the pyramid markets: The case of multinational enterprise/nongovernment organization alliances[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2010, 34(3): 555-581.
 Welter F. Contextualizing entrepreneurship-conceptual challenges and ways forward[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2011, 35(1): 165-184.
 Wood M S, McKelvie A, Haynie J M. Making it personal: Opportunity individuation and the shaping of opportunity beliefs[J]. Journal of Business Venturing,2014, 29(2): 252-272.
 Woolley J L. The creation and configuration of infrastructure for entrepreneurship in emerging domains of activity[J]. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,2014, 38(4): 721-747.
 Zahra S A. The virtuous cycle of discovery and creation of entrepreneurial opportunities[J]. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,2008, 2(3): 243-257.
 Zahra S A, Wright M, Abdelgawad S G. Contextualization and the advancement of entrepreneurship research[J]. International Small Business Journal:Researching Entrepreneurship,2014, 32(5): 479-500.
Cite this article
Cai Yiru, Cai Li, Chen Ziying, et al. Entrepreneurial Opportunity and Entrepreneurial Context: An Integrated Framework[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2022, 44(4): 18-33.
Previous: The Impact of Enterprise Digital Transformation Strategy and Capability on Product Service System