Value creation and change in social structures: the role of entrepreneurial innovation from an emergence perspective

Fuller, Ted, Warren, Lorraine and Argyle, Paul (2012) Value creation and change in social structures: the role of entrepreneurial innovation from an emergence perspective. In: RENT XXVI: Entrepreneurship and Creation of Wealth for Economies, Organisations and People, November 2012, Lyon.

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Our aim is to develop a more complete understanding of how processes that entrepreneurs perform interact with wider society and the causal effects of society on entrepreneurial behaviour and vice versa. We aim to show how entrepreneurial agency is put into effect in relation to the disruption of social structure and social change. This has implications for innovation and entrepreneurship policy and practice, and for entrepreneurship theory. We also investigate the role of ‘value’ in these processes.

Contribution to the literature
Our central argument is that emergent forms (or ‘emergents’) may be short lived (ephemeral) but have causal power on the performance of the actors in the system of inter-relationships in the innovation ecosystem. The emphasis on inter-related social processes and ontological stratification provides theoretical development of extant entrepreneurship theory on new venture creation (by explaining process), effectuation (by linking individualism and holism) and opportunity recognition (by deconstructing opportunity into anticipation, ontology and process).

The paper takes an 'emergence' perspective as a way to understand entrepreneurial processes that give rise to innovation. The anticipation of value and the inter-relationship with social and organisational structures are fundamental to this perspective. A longitudinal analysis of a case study of the development of a new business model within an entrepreneurial firm is described. The case is followed through seven phases in which the relationship between process and emergent ontological status is shown to have destabilising and stabilising effects which produce emergent properties.

Results and Implications
One methodological contribution is framing how to conceptualise the empirical evidence. Emergents have causal effects on the anticipations of value inherent in their particular system of innovation. This causality is manifest as the attraction of resource in the firm; the stabilisation of the emergent constitutes strategy in the enterprise. A key role of the entrepreneurs in our case study was the creation and maintenance of evolving ontological materiality, as meaningful to themselves and to those with whom they interacted. In simple terms, they made things meaningful to people who mattered.

Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Emergence, Social Process, Critical Realism
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N200 Management studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:8369
Deposited On:25 Mar 2013 16:55

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