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' Academy o/M<ino|.a»iil fl«»ltw. IWH. Vol. ill. No. 4. B98.7M.

A Conceptual Franiewurk for DescriMiig


the PhenLOHieBon of New Venture Creation
WILLIAM B. GARTNER
Gfiorgetown University
A jfiview of the eintrBprenturship literature sugijests Jhat differences
atnong entwpreneurs and among their venitires are as gt«at as Ihe
variation between entrepreneurs and nonenti^preneurs and between
new firms ttnd established firms. A /rameu-ork for describing new
venture creation integrates four maj'or perspectives in entrepre-
neufship." characteristics of the individuaJ(s) who start the venture,
the oi^nfzcition which they create, the oiivironment sitrrounding the
new venture, and the process by which tho new venture is started.
Tho major ihiust of most entrapreneurship similar characteristics must exist within the uni-
re.'5earch has been to provp thai entrepreneurs are vorsa of entrepreneurs and their ventures. How
different from nonontrepreiieurs (Brpakhaua, are those groups revealed? Many different charac-
lesOfi, maobi Carluud, Hkjy, Boulton, & Garland, teristics have been employed in past research to
1984; Collins & Moore, 1964; DaCarlo & Lyons, describe entrepreneurs and their ventures. Do the
1979! Hornadoy & Aboud, 1871; Howell, 1972; characteristics themselves fail into gioups? In
Komives, 1972; Litzlngftr, 3965; McClelland, other words, does one subset of characteristics
19B1: MGCleliand & Winter. 1969; Palmer, 1971; describo a single aspect of new venture creation,
Sdirier, 1978; Shapero, 1975) and that entrapre- stich as the enviroiimBnt surrounding the new
neuria! firms ave different from nonentrepre- venture, or the features of the organization that
neurial firms (Collins & Moore, 1970; Cooper, results?
1979; Smith, 1987; Thorne & Ball, 1981). The This paper attempts to organize the many vtiri-
biisic assumption underlyingthis research is that ables that have been used in past research to
all entrepreneurs and their new ventures are desoribe entrepreneurs and their ventures into a
much the samo. Tho present paper suggests that comprehensive framework. Far from being reduc-
thi3 differences among entrepreneurs and among tive, this new view of the entrepreneurship litera-
their ventures are much greater than one might ture should provide valuable insights into the
expect; in fact, tho diversity may be larger than process of now venture creation by showing it to
tho differences between entrepreneurs and non> be a complex and multidimensional phe-
entrepreneurs and between entrepreneurial firms nomenon. Once a clear retrospective analysis of
and nonentrepreuaurlaifirnis. Once the diver- the literature is provided, future research can pro-
sity among entrepreneurs arid their ventures is ceed on more solid footing. Instead of many dif-
nicogtiized, the necessity for finding a way to ferent researchers palpating different parts of the
classify them becomes appar<3nt. Groups sharing elephant and reaching reductive conclusions, at
least all will know the name, if not the nature, of
The research leading to this paper was supported in part by
the beast with which they are dealing.
a grant from the National Science Foundation and is based Much past research han been unidimensionnl,
on thn author's doctoral dissort^tion. Additional support was focusing on a single aspect of new venture crea-
provided by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Univer- tion, and its main purpose has been to show how
sity of Virginiii.
Requests for reprinlii should he sent ta William B. Oartner, entrepreneurs or their firms differ from nonen-
Center for EntreprenEursltip Studieii. School of Business Ad- trei^reneurs o; nonontrepreneurial firms. (In fact,
nnli,istratIon,Gaorgetiiwn University, Washington, D.C. 20057. it might be said that unidimensional research goes

896
hand in hand with tho attitude that all entrepre- elemants form nomplax and unique combinations
neurs end thair firms are alike, the task of the in tho creation of each liaw venture. It is not
unidtmensional research being to prove how all onough for researohera to seek out and focus on
things entrepreneurial differ front all things sorna concept of tha "average" antrapranaur and
nonentrepreneurial.) It has been consistently the "typical" vantura creation. Naw organiza-
pointed out, however, in reviews of literature on tional forms avolva through variation, and this
entrepreneurs, for example, (Brockhaug, 1982; variation tn naw vantura creation nacils to ba
Glueck & Mescon, 1980; McCain & Smith, 1981) studied (Aldrich, 1979; Hannan & Fraaman, 1977;
that variables that are assumed to differentiote Ffeffer & Salandk, 1978; Waick, 1979). This insis-
entrepreneurs from nonantrapreneurs (managers, tence on variation can ba sean, for example, in
for instance] frequently do not bear up under Vesper (1979), who posits 11 different kinds of
close scrutiny. Yet the search for these elusive entrapranaur, and in a recant study by Coopar
variables continues, and entrepreneurs and pro- and Dunkalbarg (19B1), which reveals that entre-
spective antrepreneurs are subjected to batteries preneurs in certain industries can ba vary diffar-
of psychological tasts in attempts to isolate the snt from thosa in other industries.
singla spring that makes them tick differently Onca tha variation and complexity in naw ven-
from others. As with other aspects of naw ven- ture creation is recognized, it than is necessary
ture creation, attempts ara made to isolate key to find a framework for systematically discovar-
variables that separata entrepreneurial situations ing and avaluating tha similarities and differancas
from nonentieprenaurial onas. Pennings (19B0, among new ventures (McKalvay, 1982). Onca it
1982a, 1982bJ has explored environments that is no longer assumed that all entrepranaurs and
support naw venture creation; Van do Ven (1980) thair ventures prasent a homogeneous population,
and Kimberly (1979) have focused on tha pro- than other homogcmaous subsets within the antre-
cess oi: venture creation. pranaurial univarso must be sought out in order
This search for key variables is a motivation that antraprenaurial research can produca mean-
for rasearch only if the task of entreprenaurial ingful results. A primary value of tha framework
research is taken to ba tha distinction of antrapra- for describing new vanture creation presented
neurs and things antrapranaurial from nonantra- hara Is that it provides a systematic means of
preneurs and nonantrepreneurial situations. If a comparing and contrasting complax ventures; it
much different perspective is taken, tha perspec- provides a way to conceptualize variation and
tive that there are many different kinds of antra- complexity.
prenaur and many ways to ba ono and that the
firms thay craata vary enormously as do the envi- A Framework for Describing
ronments they craata them in, than tha burdan
shifts. How is Bach naw venture creation differ- New Venture Creation
ent from another? Rasaarchars naed to think in Daflnitions of key words such as entrepreneur
terms of a combination of variables that make up ara oftan various and always a problem in tha
each naw venture creation (Van de Ven, Hudson, study of antreprimeurship (Brockhaus, 1980b;
& Schroadar, 1984). The creation of a new ven- Komives, 19139; Long, 1983). Because the entre-
ture is a multidimensional phanomenon; each preneur is only one dimension of this framework,
variable describes only a singla dimension of the it saems mora important in this paper to define
phanomanon and cannot ba taken alone. There tha term "naw venture creation." Such a defini-
is a growing awareness that the process of start- tion can be outlined hare with lass trepidation, if
ing a business is not a single well-worn route only because thara is less precedent.
marched along again and again by idi^ntical antra- New venture creation is the organizing (in the
prenaurs (Hartman, 1983), Naw venture creation Welckian sense) of new organizations. "To orga-
is a. complex phanomanon: antrepreneurs and. niza is to assambli) ongoing interdapandant ac-
their firms vary widely; the actions thay take or tions into sensible :;aquances that ganarate sensi-
do not taka and the environments they operate in ble outcomes" (Weick, 1979, p. 3). The dafini-
and respond to ara equally di varse—and ail these tion of naw venture creation is synonymous with

89/
the dofinition of the nqw organisation developed ture creation can be comprehensively described,
by the Strategic Planning Institute (1978, p. t-2): nor can its complexity be udequately accounted
a new businesis venture launched as one of tha for, unless all of its four dimensions ara investi-
following: gated and an attempt is made to discover how
1. an independent entity variables from each dimension interact \vith vari-
2. a new profit ceittar within a company which ables from other dimensions.
has other iistabllshgd buslnessas, or
. :i, a joint venture which satisfies the foHoiving This framework is tbe first to combine the four
criteria: dimensions of venture creation, though other
1. Us founders must'scquira expertise in pro- researchers have sought to combine two or more
ducts, process, maricet and/or technology. of the dimensions. This "thinking across dimen-
?„. Kesults ere expncted beyond the year in sions" is especially apparent in the work of those
which thq ipveatment is mada.
:i. It is considered a new market entrant hy its theorists and researchers who have developed
competitors. entrepreneurial clnssification schemes. Classifi-
•i. It is TRgardsd as a new source of supply by Its cations of entrepreneurs themselves are often
potential customern. based on two dimensions: individual characteris-
The trnpartancD of this definition should not be tics plus new venture process considerations —
overlookod, because it recognizes the niuUidi- tho word often used is "stylo." Danhoff (1949)
niensional aspHcta of now venture creation. First, based his scheme on the entrepreneur's open-
it enriphasi^es that individuals with expertise are ness to iimovation; Cole (1959) on the sophistica-
a key element of the new viinture. At the same tion of the entrepreneur's decision making tools;
time that it recognizes the new venture as an and Oailey (1971) according to bureaucratic or
organizational Eintity, it stresses that the new ven- entrepreneurial style. Smith (1967) divided entre-
ture is not instnntaueously produced, but evolves preneurs by a stylistic orientation—craftsman or
over time (beyond a year). The new venture is opportunistic. Fiiley and Aldag (1980) used
seen further within the context of its environ- management orientation- Vesper (1979,1980) in
njent: it is foitied to seek out resources, and it two similar classifications differentiated among
competes in the rnarket place. Ait these aspects ontropreneurs by the activities involved in busi-
of the new venture must be kapt in mind if it is to ness formation and operation, and in another
be adequately described and classified. scheme (1980) by competitive strategy. In Coo-
Figure 1 presents a framework for describing per (1979) entrepreneurs are linked to particular
the creation of a new venture across four dimen- environments, and, as cited previously. Cooper
sions; (a) individuals)—the i:H}rson(s) involved in and Dunkelberg'ii (1981) study matches different
starting a new organization; (h) organization—the entrepreneurs and their characteristics to the
kind of firm that is started; (c) environment—tho types of firms they are likely to start. In Vesper's
situation surrounding and influencing the new (1979) classification tha entrepreneur's type of
oruanization; and (d) new venture process—the firm is also a factor, es it is in several other
actions undertaken by the individual(s) to start Giassificatlon studies (Braden, 1977; Pilley &
thij venture. Aldagi 1980; Smith, 1987). Recently, Van do Ven
et di.'s (1984) erapirical study examined educa-
Any new venture is a gestalt (Miller, 1981.J of' tional software) firms on the basis of three dimen-
variables frurn the four dimensions. No new ven-

SNDIVIDUAL{S!

ENVIRONMKNT.:?*- -•• ORGANIZATION

"PROCESS

Figure 2. A framework for describing new venture creation.


69a
sions: entrepreneurial—background character- 1981; Van de Ven, 1080). However, the following
istics and psychological attributes of the found- psychological cliaiacteriatics have been used in
ing entrepnneuts; otganfzationBl—^planning And many studies and may have some validity in dif-
organizational activities undertaken before and ferentiating among t^'pes of entrepreneurs (Brock-
after company startup; and ecological—support haus, 1982):
and resources made available to influence the 1. Need for achievemant
development of the industry. These classlflca- Z. Locus of contiol
(ion schemes and frameworks are ways of Btep- 3. Risk taking propensity
ping baGk to get an overall picturot a process like Some researchers have found it fruitful to look
tnodel-bullding, which involves integration and at the entrepreneur's background, experience, and
synthesis. attitudes. Somd individual characteristics that
may be of value in describing entrepreneurs are:
1. Job satisfaction (Collins & Moore, 1(170; Kom-
IndtviduaKs) ives, 1972)
Whether an ontrepreneur is viewed as a "cap- 2. Previous work e>:perieni:e (Cooper, 1970; La-
ment, 1972; Susbauer, 1972)
lain of industry," a hard-headed risk bearer (Mill, 3. Entiepreneuiial piucents (Collins & Moore, 1970;
1846), risk taker (Palmer, 1971) or a "rapacious Roberts & Wainer. 19B8; Schrier, 1975; Socrest,
risk avoider" (Webster, 1978): whether he merely 1975; Siiapcro, 1(172; Susbauer, 1972)
metamorphoses into an entrepreneur at certain 4. Ago (Koinives, 1972; Liias, 1974; Roberts &
moments and is something else the rest of the Wainer, 1960; Scicrest, 1975; Thome & Ball,
1981)
time (Danhoff, 1949), or whether his need for 5. Education (Bcockhaus & Nord, 1979; Collins &
achievement (McClelland, 1961) and capacity for Moore, 1984; Howoll, 1972; Roberts, 1969;
Innovation (Schumpeter, 1934) are always tick- Susbauer, 1989)
ing away; whether he is a "displaced persitn"
Process
IShapero, 1979), something dose to a juvenile
delinquent (Gould. 1069), or a "man apart" (Liles, In 1949 Danhoff wrote, "Entrepreneurship is
1974) with an absolutely clear-headed (veridical) an activity or function and not a specific individ-
pBrception of reality (Schrage, 1985), an aberrant ual or occupation . . . the specific personal entre-
"artist" with an "innate sense of impending preneur is an unrenlistic abstraction" (p. 21).
change" {Hill, 1982); or whether he is, indeed, Other theorists have pursued this idea of func-
that completely political animal, a community tion and have tried to differentiate tho entre-
builder (Schell & Davig, 1981), the entrepreneur preneurial function from other more routine
is overwhelniingly perceived to be different in functions such as tha managerial function (Bau-
important wnys from the nonentrepreneur, and mol. 1968; Cole, 1985; Hartmann, 1959; Lniben-
m«ny researchers have believed these differences stffin, 1966; Schumpeter, 1934). This "dynamic"
to lie in Ihe background and personality of the aspect of the entrepreneur has been acknowl-
entrepreneur. edged in the work of eight researchors who have
One often pursued avamie has been the attempt enumerated csrtain tictions that an entrepreneur
to develop a psychological profile of the entrepre" platforms in order to create a new venture. Except
neur and to measure such psychological charac- for Peterson and Berger (1971), who described
teristics as need for achievement (DeCarlo & tha entrepreneurial activities of record producers,
Lyons, 1979; Hornaday & Aboud, 1971; McCle- these studies were theoretical, that is, based on
lland, 1961; McClelland & Winter, 1969; general observation rather than systematic re-
Schwartz, 1978). However, other researchers have ssEsrch. The similarities in their views are sum-
not found need for achievement useful in describ- marized here; six common behaviors are listed
ing entrepreneurs (Brockhaus, 19B0bi Litzingei, (the order does not imply a sequence of actions):
1965; Schrage, 1965); still others hevo questioned 1. The entrepreneur locates a business opportu-
the value and validity of using psychological nity (Cole, lSBS; Kilby. 1971; Maidique, 1980;
characteristics of any kind to describe entra- Schumpater, 1934:; Vesper. 1980).
2, The entrepreneur accumulates resources (Cole,
tironeuis (Broekhaus, 1982; Glueck & Mescon, 1965; Kilby, 1971; Leibenstein, 1968; Peterson &
1980; Jenks, 19B5; Kilby, 1971; McCain & Smith, Berger, 1971; Schumpeter, 1934; Vesper, 1960).
699
9. The entrepreneur macketii products and ser- 1. Venture cetpltsl availability
¥lce» (Cola, iOfiSj Kilby. 1B71; LeibiHOtein, 2. Piesence d ej^erienced entiepreMure
lOea; Maidique, 1980; Peteraon & Be^er, 3. Technically sMHed labor force
1971! SchumpatBr, 19345 Vesper. 1980). 4. Accessibility of suppliers
4. The entrapreneur produces tho product (Kilby, 5. Accessibility of customers or new markets
1971; Maidique, 1980; Peterson & Berger, B. Governmental influences
1971; Schumpeter. 1934; Vesper, 1980). 7. Proximity of universities
fi. The entrepreneur builds an. organization (Cole, 8. Availability of land or facilitias
1965; Kilby, 1971; I^lbenttein, 1968; Schum- 9. Accessiiility of transportetion
peter, 1934). 10. Attitude of the area population
a. The enttepieneur responds to sovarnmant and 11. Availability of supporting services
society (Cole, 1865; Kilby. 1971). 12. Living conditions
Environment Another study of environmental influences on
new venture creation was Pennings' studies of
Much of the current concern (Paters & Water- organization birth frequencies (1980, 1982a,
man, 1982) over how to design organizations that 1982b). Pennings found that organization birth
keup and encourage innovati\'e individuals is an rates were high in areas with: high occupational
indirect acknowledgment that entrepreneurs do and industrial differentiation; high percentages
no): operate in vacuums — they respond to their
of recent immigrants in the population; a large
onvironments. The existence of highly support-
tvE! regional entrepreneurial environments industrial base; larger size urtian areas; and avail-
(Cooper, 1970; Draheim, 1972; Pennings, 19a2b; ability of financial resources.
Susbauer, 1972) — including "incubator organi- Another fiuld of research has taken the deter-
^slions"—can, from one perspijctive, be said actu- ministic perspective regarding the environment
ally to create entrepreneurs. "The idea of "pushes" and new ventures; industrial economics. Oliver
and "pulls" from the onvironinent has found its Wiillamson (1975) oxplored the process by which
way into many studies of entropreneurship the failure of markets to coordinate efficiently
fShapero & Sokol, 1982). tha production and distribution of goods and ser-
!n organization theory literature, two different vices often resulted in the start-up of organiza-
views of the envirunment hava been developed. tions to coordinate the production function
One perspective, environmental determinism, through administration. Porter (1980) focused on
sees the environment as an outside set of condi- the competitive environment that confronts firms
tions lo which the organization must adapt in a particular industry. Porter's work provides
lAldrich, 1979; Aldrich & Pfefwr, 1976; Hannan five environmental influences on organizations:
& Freeman, 1977). The other perspective, streta- barriers to entry, rivalry among existing com-
gic choice, sees the environmont as a "reality" petitors, pressure from substitute products, bar-
that organizations create via the selectivity of their gaining power of buyers, and bargaining power
own perceptions (Child, 1972; Storbuck, 1976; of suppliers.
Weick, 1979). In the entrepreneurship literature, Organization
both perspectives on the environment have been Despite a bold early attempt by Stauss (1944)
taken. In the present paper those characteristics to direct the focus away from the entrepreneur
Ihat are viewed as relatively fixed conditions and toward his created organization (by claiming,
Imposed on the new venture Irom without are somewhat tortuously, that the firm is tho en-
cniled environmental variables. Variables over trepreneur), most subsequent studies of new ven-
which the organization has more control (strategic ture creation have neglected to comment on or
choice variables) are more readily viewed as char- even communicate certain characteristics of the
acteristics of the organization itself and are treated organizations on which they focused. The as-
as such. sumption behind tbis seems to derive from two
In an overview of 17 research papers on envi- other assumptions: (a) if ell entrepreneurs are
ronmental variables that Influenced new venture virtually alike and (b) they all go through the
creation, Bruno and Tyebjee (1982) found 12 fac- same process to create their ventures, then (c)
loirs that they fudged stimulated entrepreneur- the organizations they create must, like widgets,
ship; not be of any interest in themselves.
700
Many research samples In entrepreneurship to differentiate the typical entrepreneur and his/
studies are selected, for example, without regard her typical creation from all nonentrepreneurs
to type of firm (i.e., manufacturing, service, retail, and all nonnew ventures have, whether inten-
wholesale). Ot' the studies that have indicated tionally or nut, advanced the notion that all entre-
tha type of firm, Smith (1987), Cooper (1970), preneurs are alike and all new venture crttatlon
Collins and Moore (1970), Susfaauer (1972), and is the same. However, there cl<aarly is a wide varia-
Braden (1977) studied manufacturing firms, and tion in the kinds of new ventures that are startud.
most focused on high technology menufecturing For example, are there similarities between the
firms. Litzin,i^r (1965) studied motel firms, and creation of a waterbod store by a 20-year old col-
Mescon and Montanari (19B1) studied real estate lege student and the creation of a personal com-
firms. However, researchers in these studies made puter company by three engineers? Are the differ-
no attempts to compare tbe type of firm studied ences between them more important than the
to other typos of firm to determine what differ- similarities? What is the value of comparing the
ence type of firm might make in the process of creation of a pet stora by two unemployed physl*
new venture creation. Cooper and Dunkelberg cal therapists to the creation of a 5,000-acre busi-
(1981), Gartner |19B2), and Van de Ven et al. ness park by four real estate developers? The goal
(19S4) have begun to link type of firm across is not to smooth over any differences that might
other dimensions, such as entrepreneurial back- exist among these new ventures or to throw these
ground and response to environment. very different individuals into the saine pot in
The presence of partners is another firm char- order to extract the typical qualities of the typi-
acteristic suggested by Timmons, Smollen, and cal entrepreneur. The goal is to identify the spe-
Dingee (1977) as a vital factor in starting certain cific variables that describe how each new ven-
types of firm, and some research has mentioned ture was created, in order that meaningful con-
partners as a characteristif: of the firms studied trasts and comparisons among new venturos can
(Cooper, 1970; DeCarlo & Lyons, 1979). be made.
Strategic choice variables are treated here as First must come oereful description with an
characteristics of the organization. Porter (19B0) eye to variation. The search for key variables, for
identified three generic competitive strategies that general piinciplss, for universally applicablo laws
firms may "choose": (a) overall cost leadership, of entrepreneurship that has characterized much
(b) differentiation, and (c) focus. Vesper (1980) of tho entrepreneui'ship literature betrays an
identified 14 competitive entry wedges: the new impatience with the slow methodical process of
product or service, parallel competition, franchise description. Attention to careful observation and
entry, geographical transfer, supply shortage, tap- description is the basis of good scientific research
ping unutilized resources, customer contract, (McKelvey, 1982). In what does all this careful
becoming a second source, joint ventures, li- description of new ventures result? A collection
censing, market rolinquishment, sell off of di- of uniquely described ventures, each different
vision, favored purchasing by government, and from all the others? Once good description is
governmental rule changes, achieved, then good comparisons and contrasts
can be made, and subsets of similar ventures can
Conclusion be estabtished. Thests homogeneous populations
Listing each variable of new venture creation are needed before any general rules or theories of
under the appropriate dimension of the frame- new venture creation can be postulated. The lack
work illustrates the potential for a high degree of of such homogeneouii samples in the past has led
complexity in the interaction of these variables to conflicts in the results of research studies.
within the multidimensional phenomenon of The conceptual framework presented here pro-
venture creation (Figure 2). vides a way of analyzing past research studies.
The four dimensional conceptual framework Each study can be broken down into the types of
can be seen as a kaleidoscope, as an instrument individuals, organizations, environments, and
through which to view the enormously varying processes that were investigated. One way in
patterns of new venture creation. Past attempts which the framework can be useful Is in identify-

701
SNDIVIOUALCS]

''Need
Locus of control
Risk taUtng propenslly
]ob sstlsfactton
Previous woTk oxpaiienco
Entrepreneuriai parents
Age
Education

ENVIRONMENT ORGANIZATION

Venture capital avallabiUiy Overall cost leadership


Presence of Bxperlanced entrepreneurs Differentiation
Technically skilled labor force Focus
Accessibility of suppliers The now product or service
Accessibility of cuEtomer^ or now markets Paraliul competition
Covernmental influencBS Franchiso entry
Proximity of universities Googritphlcal transfer
Availability of land or facilities Supply shortage
Accessibility of transport-itioii Tapping unutilized resources
Attitude of the area population Customer contract
Availability of supportinjj services Becoming a second source
Living conditions Joint vonturps
High occupational and industrial Licensing
diffarentintion Market reilnquishment
High percentages of recent Sell off of division
immigrants in the population Favored purchasing by government
i^airga industrial base Governmental rule changes
l^arger stsse urban areas
Availability of financial resources
Oairiers to entry
Rivalry among existing competitors
Pressure Irom substitute products
Bargaining power of buyers
Bargaining power of suppliers

PROCESS

The entrepreneur locates a business opportunity


The entteproneur accumulates resources
The entrsprensur inarkstis products and sorvices
The entieproneur produces tho product
The entrepreneur buiids an organization
Ths entrepreneur respondis to government and society

Figure 2. Variables in now venture creation.

702
ing those aspects of new venture creation neg- tion must be paid to the research sample. For
lected by a particular study. New research may example, women ontreproneurs are a popular
then ba designed to account for these lauunae. research topic. If similarities are discovered
For example, Brockhaus defines his sample of among women who start firms, are these similari-
entrepreneurs as: ties a result of similar environments? Can dif-
Individuals who within three months prior to the ferences be attributed solely to psychological or
study had ceased worldng for their employers and background characteristics? What is the value of
at tha time of the study owned as weil as manegod research results that are based on such unex-
bushiBss ventures.... Ths businesses wliose own- amined and possibly heterogeneous sample pop-
ers served as participants were selected from the
listing of businesses licensed by St. Louis County, ulations?
Missouri during tbe months of August and Sep- Even in a narrowly selected research sample,
tember, 1975 {1980a, p. 39). the framework might be useful in drawing the
Although Brockhaus. unlike othor researchers, researcher's attention to considerations inherent
attempts to close in on the actual entrepreneurial in each of the four dimensions, in order that con-
function by interviewing his entrepreneurs chtsions regarding the virtual sameness of all the
within a few months of the creation of their members of the sample may not be made too
ventures, useful and necessary distinctions hastily. For example, in a sample of new organi-
among the individuals and their now ventures zations in the micro-computer industry, a num-
are not made. One is not sure what types of firms ber of considerations might be made. What is the
were studied (retail, service, manufacturing, etc.} variation among the entrepreneurs in their work
or whether the St. Louis environment was iikoiy backgrounds, education, age? Huw do competi-
to influence certain types of individuals to create tive strategies used by those new organizations
certain types of firms. Is the process of starting a vary? Are there regional or other subenvironments
venture in St, Louis different, or is the process in the industry that cause variations in firms and
different for certain types of businesses or cer- strategies? What is the variation in the venture
tain kinds of individuals? Accounting for type of creation process: do all individuals devoto equal
firm, environment, and process in this study time to financing tho organization, hiring per-
would enhance comparison among the Individu- sonnel, marketing? What differences exist be-
als in the study and individuals in other studies. tween "new" and "old" firms in this industry?
In analyzing results of research studies, a focus The brief review of the literature provided ear-
on differences in one of the four dimensions lier is only a running start at a comprehensive
might explain conflicting results. For example, analysis and evaluiition of the entrepreneurship
studies such as CoUins and Moore (1970) suggest literature. For example, in a study of individuals
that individuals who start firms are social misfits who start firms, who are the Individuals? Are the
who do not fit into most organizfltions. Yet other individuals in McCleiiand's samples (McCelland,
studies such as Cooper (1970) stiggest that indi- 1961; McCdIand & Winter, 1969) similar to those
viduals who start succossful firms arc good team in Brockhaus (1980a) or Schrage (196S)? More
players. On closer examination it is seen that about the similarities and differences within and
Collins and Moore studied manufacturing firms among past research samples needs to be known.
that were more like job shops in the 1950s, and There are many dimensions and variables across
Cooper studied high technology firms in the which these samples may be compared.
1980s. High technology industries might require The framework also points up the importance
more skills than one individual wouid be likely of interactions of variables among dimensions in
to have, necessitating that individuals combine understanding new venture creation. How docs
their abilities in teams in order to start an organi- an individual's background influence the type of
zation successfully. activities undertaken to start an organization?
In addition to providing a means by which past Does the marketing individual devote his time to
research can bo analyzed, the framework outlines marketing instead of manufacturing, and are there
a format for future research methodologies and some environment!! or firms that require more
for reporting such research. More careful atten- marketing? Is the process of starting a retail store

703
aimllar to that of starting a steel miU? Are antiy qufii8t,ions about how new ventures are started or
sttatofiies used by new oi|anh»tions in the robot" provide specific developmental modela for new
ics industry similar to those meA In the brewery venture croation. No claim is made that the frame-
industry? work or the list of variables is comprehonsive;
The frame%vork for describing new venture cre- the claim is only that the description of new ven-
ation provides the possibility of describing sub- turea needs to be more comprehensive than It is
sets wHUiti tiie unwieldy set of all entjrepreneurs at pieeent. A great many more questions axe asked
and all new ventures. Newly created ventures here than are answered. However, Ihe paper pro-
that display meaningful similarities across the vides a means of making a fundamental shift in
four dimensions could be described and clsssi- the perspective on entrepreneurship; away from
fied tagether (Gartner, 19B2). Sigaificant general- viewing entrapreneurs and their ventures as an
izations legarding some or all new venture cre- unvarying, homogeneous population, and to-
ations might emerge, genoralizations that do not, wards a recognition and appreciation of tho com-
however, attempt to mask the variation in new plexity and variation that abounds in tho phe-
venture creation. nomenon of new venture creation.
This paper does not purport to answer specific

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S. Gartner Is Assistant Professor of Business


and Cirectoro/lhnCenter/orEnirepreneurship Studies
in ihe School of Business Arfm(ni's(nition, Georgetoivn
University.

708