بله اکنون ما می توانیم: تغییر تکنولوژیکی و بهره برداری از فرصت های کارآفرینانه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18076||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of High Technology Management Research, Volume 22, Issue 2, 2011, Pages 102–113
The paper investigates how technological change in an industry influence which individuals will identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. We propose that the introduction of new development tools will change knowledge-barriers to entry because they enable the abstraction of specialized knowledge that was previously needed for development. Empirically we test the argument using data from the web design industry in a Nordic country during the period 1992–2003. We compare the education and experience of founders before and after the introduction of web administration tools in 1998 and find a significant difference, which supports the main thesis of our argument.
Within entrepreneurship research the nexus of opportunities and individuals has received a lot of attention (Eckhardt and Shane, 2003, Sarason et al., 2006, Shane, 2003, Shane and Venkataraman, 2000 and Venkataraman, 1997). Instead of focusing separately on the enterprising individual or the opportunities that are generated by environmental change the emphasis has been on the importance of investigating the interaction of the individual and opportunities. A central tenet within this line of research is the importance of prior knowledge for identifying and exploiting opportunities (Shane, 2000). Previous experiences and accumulated knowledge are believed to shape what opportunities individuals will discover and how they are further developed into a viable business. Such an approach implies that external knowledge development, for example the introduction of new technologies, will affect which individuals are likely to identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities (McMullen & Shepherd, 2006). This is certainly not a new insight. Even if not formulated in the same manner this view is clearly shared by the economists that have stressed the role of entrepreneurs as change agents in the economy. This is particularly evident in the works of economists sharing the common ancestry to the Austrian economist Carl Menger, such as Schumpeter, 1934, Schumpeter, 1939/1964, Schumpeter, 1942/1976, Kirzner, 1973 and Kirzner, 1997. Research following the tradition of Schumpeter have studied the linkage between innovation and the development of technology but have not stressed the role of the individual (e.g. Klevorick, Levin, Nelson, & Winter, 1995). Studies following more closely the subjective tradition of Menger, such as Kirzner, 1973 and Kirzner, 1997, have stressed the importance of individual action in the economic system, but have never given much attention to knowledge as a phenomenon (Lewin, 1996). This means that there is a dearth of studies dealing with in what ways technological change affects which individuals discover, create, evaluate and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. The aim of this paper is advance the understanding of how the introduction of new technology in an industry influences which individuals identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities in that industry. More specifically, we investigate how the introduction of a new type of development tools affected what individuals started new businesses in the web design industry. We study the whole population of startups in the web design industry established 1992–2003 in a Nordic country. The development of the industry during that period was dominated by independent startups, and in the middle of the period web administration tools were introduced that helped simplify the creation and maintenance of web sites. The paper is structured as follows. In the next section we develop our frame of reference resulting in three hypotheses. In the method section we describe our method of data collection and analysis followed by a section where the results of our empirical analysis are presented. Finally, we discuss the results and their implications for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Recently, much entrepreneurship literature has focused on the nexus of individuals and opportunities. A central issue is the role of previous experiences and how accumulated knowledge shape what opportunities individuals will discover and how they are further developed into a viable business. In this paper we study how changes in the technical knowledge available to develop new products and services in an industry influences what individuals identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities in that industry. Specifically, we investigate the changes in technical knowledge associated with the introduction of new capital goods that enable the abstraction of specialized knowledge that has previously been used. In the paper we propose that new capital goods enable the abstraction of specialized knowledge in the sense that a founder can ignore one particular type of specialized knowledge. This makes it possible for actors without this specialized knowledge to identify and exploit opportunities in the industry. At the same time, actors that specialize in the creation of the capital goods will be less likely to identify and exploit similar opportunities. In effect, knowledge-barriers to entry have changed and this leads to changes in what characterizes founders; one group of actors are more likely to identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities than before, while others are less likely to do so. We evaluated these propositions by empirical analysis of the educational background and working experience of founders of new ventures in the Icelandic web design industry between 1992 and 2003. New venture creation was the dominant mode of exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities in this young and growing industry. In the middle of the period (1998) the commercial introduction of web administrative software is documented in Icelandic computer magazines. In the literature, these are claimed to dramatically change the way websites are created and updated. Based on our propositions we hypothesized that we would observe differences in knowledge specialization of founders before and after 1998. We expected that we would be more likely to observe founders having a background in graphical design after 1998 than before. We also expected that we were less likely to observe founders with a background in web programming, which is the field of knowledge on which the creation of web administration software is based, after 1998 than before. As expected we observed differences in the educational background and experience of founders before and after 1998. We also observed a relatively higher number of founders with educational background in graphical design after 1998 than before. However, we did not observe a relatively lower number of founders with background in web programming after 1998 as we expected. When we looked at the firm level we could nevertheless observe a clear difference between the two time periods, where new ventures were much more likely to have a focus on graphical design after 1998 than before. The empirical analysis supports the main theme of our propositions, namely that the introduction of capital goods during certain circumstances may bring about a change in the knowledge-barriers for entrepreneurial action. However, there are some differences or discrepancies which need to be explained. The most important is the difference between the founder and team level, and the observation that individuals with their background in web programming were equally likely to be involved with the identification and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities before and after the introduction of web administration software. These discrepancies call for the investigation of alternative explanation to the ones proposed by our theoretical approach. First, would it be possible that the changes we observe are simply due to the increase in the demand for web design services and the depletion of highly qualified founders? If that is the case it might lead less qualified founders, i.e. without education and experience in web programming, to establish new ventures to satisfy this demand. This explanation is unlikely to be true as we find that the people that enter the industry after the introduction of the web administration tools were not less qualified, but rather more qualified than before. The education levels of founders are higher in the latter period as compared to the former (62% has finished post-secondary education compared to 38%.) and a higher share of founders has prior experience of web design in the latter period (86%) compared to the former (28%). Also, after the introduction of web administration tools there are no founding teams which do not include people with education or prior working experience related to the core knowledge field used for web design. Second, could it be that the observed changes are due to general development in the industry rather than an introduction of a specific type of capital good? Stigler (1951) argues that when industry has attained a certain size conditions arise for increased specialization of tasks. Not only is the division of labor considered to be limited by the extent of the market, but there are also mechanisms, such as the emergence of specialist education programs, which amplify specialization driven by the extension of the market. Thus, we could expect the founders to become increasingly specialized and formally educated in either graphical design or web programming as the industry progresses. Looking closer at the background of the founders does not suggest that specialist education program was the primary reason for people with background in graphical design to enter the industry. In only 24% of ventures where at least one of the founders had prior experience of graphical design had any of the founders finished a specialist education program related to web design and all but one of these firms were established between 2001 and 2003. In 29% of the ventures one of the founders had a traditional visual art education, and in the remaining 47% the founders did not have any formal education related to visual arts. The early entrants in the industry were therefore highly unlikely to hold a specialist degree in web design. The chances are therefore low that the introduction of web administration coincides with a process of specialization driven by the general development of the industry. One plausible explanation, which addresses both of the discrepancies, is that the abstraction provided by the web administration software was only partial. This means that the messy details of web programming were still, to some degree, necessary for effective use of the software. Thus, while the majority of an entrepreneurial team has background in graphical design web programming knowledge is still needed for successful exploitation of opportunities. An evolutionary account of the development of the web design industry can support this as the complexity of the software code increased greatly, including a rapidly growing need to integrate many web designs with other applications, such as databases or new features. From a static perspective, this can be understood as only a partial abstraction of software knowledge. The explanations are plausible for software development but may be more generally valid as well. The problem of partial abstraction has been found to be a long standing and indeed even a defining problem in the fields of computer science and software engineering. Thus, despite numerous software development paradigms having been launched as the final solution to the problem, ‘abstraction leakages’ change but they are never entirely eliminated (Holmén & Saemundsson, 2002). However, the abstraction of web programming is likely to improve with time in much the same way that computer users do not require any knowledge of assembly programming language in order to use the computer, let alone identify or exploit entrepreneurial opportunities based on information technologies. Thus, it is likely that our proposed substitution of labor services for the use of new capital goods is prolonged only temporarily. In this paper we have taken only a small step toward a better understanding of how external knowledge development influences which individuals are able to identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. We have looked at a very specific type of knowledge development, namely the introduction of a new capital good used for development. Furthermore, we have only investigated the implication of such a change within a very specific context, namely the web design industry. What if products or services are more complex, i.e. a larger number of knowledge fields are needed for their development? What if new capital goods only encapsulate a relative small share of the knowledge fields needed to develop a product or service? What if the decoupling is less between knowledge needed for the production of a capital good and needed for its use? To answer these questions a more general model of the introduction of a new capital good is needed. Furthermore, the analysis could be extended to include other types of changes in the capital structure, e.g. the introduction of new capital goods used for production or operation. In addition there are opportunities for replicating the results for other industries or regions.