Strategic entrepreneurial orientation: Configurations, performance, and the effects of industry and time

Aaron F. McKenny, Jeremy C. Short, David J. Ketchen, G. Tyge Payne, Todd W. Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Research Summary: Strategic entrepreneurship research has sought to understand how firms' entrepreneurial behaviors and decision making influence firm performance. Generally this research has treated entrepreneurial orientation (EO) as consisting of dimensions that independently influence firm performance. This approach conflicts with conceptual and empirical work suggesting that managers embrace complex knowledge structures. Taking a configurational perspective that accounts for relations among the EO dimensions, we analyze a longitudinal sample of 399 firms in four technology industries to reveal how different EO patterns—identified using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis—lead to higher or lower firm performance based on industrial-, temporal-, and measurement-related factors. Managerial Summary: A firm's entrepreneurial orientation consists of its relative emphasis on autonomy, competitive aggressiveness, innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking. Do companies intentionally emphasize different aspects of entrepreneurship? Our analysis suggests that they do and that different patterns developed by companies have implications for their performance. Our work suggests managers should develop a profile of entrepreneurial dimensions that fit well in their industry. For instance, firms in growing yet stable industries tend to perform well when they emphasize autonomy and competitive aggressiveness and focus less on innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking. In contrast, this approach would not lead to high performance in more hostile industries where innovativeness is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-521
Number of pages18
JournalStrategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • configurations
  • content analysis
  • entrepreneurial orientation
  • equifinality
  • firm performance
  • fuzzy-set analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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