Technology Development and Learning in Entrepreneurial Firms
31 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2001
Date Written: October 2001
Research on learning processes in an entrepreneurial context is still in an early stage. Only recently, researchers’ attention has shifted on the cognitive processes that take place as opportunities are explored, solutions are developed, and their potential risk and returns are gradually made sense of. In this paper we report findings from a comparative study of factors that promote or hinder the learning process that underlies the successful production and application of new technological and market knowledge in entrepreneurial ventures. Our research was based on an in-depth study of two development projects ran within the same entrepreneurial firm at about the same time. The adoption of a rich, qualitative method for data collection and analysis helped us to explore the process of entrepreneurial learning and the underlying social and cognitive dynamics that influence the successful development of a new technology. Evidence from our study points at the self-reinforcing effect on the commitment of the entrepreneur - and on the consequent allocation of time, attention and resources - of prior related knowledge, perceived incentives and the degree of control on the process. The emerging framework extends previous literature on knowledge creation and technology development in entrepreneurial ventures, as it tries to unpack the underlying process of entrepreneurial learning.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, learning, innovation, technology
JEL Classification: M13
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