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ERIC Number: EJ810828
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1074-9039
Using Activity Theory to Understand Entrepreneurial Opportunity
Holt, Robin
Mind, Culture, and Activity, v15 n1 p52-70 Jan 2008
Entrepreneurship is often described as the ability to recognize and exploit opportunities. Identifying opportunities is intentional and idiosyncratic insofar as they are recognized as opportunities is a novel and conscious event (otherwise the entrepreneur would be doing nothing new). Yet opportunities also have to be recognized by others as ones that are worthy of being recognized and pursued; the opportunity is a socially embedded construct. Thus opportunity recognition and pursuit can be understood as the skillful integration of prevailing and emerging objects and relations of business activity typically articulated through "collaborative" enterprise. To expand on this view I use an activity theory perspective that shows how the potentially transformative character of entrepreneurial opportunities unfurls from within the historical and cultural reproduction of collective activities. I note, however, different emphases within current takes on activity theory, notably between subjective perspectives and open-design perspectives. In discussing these theoretical differences using existing entrepreneurial studies, as well as selected data from a study of 90 entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom, I suggest a possible reconciliation. I conclude by suggesting that where activity theory promotes a rich and nuanced understanding of the socially embedded nature of entrepreneurial opportunities, entrepreneurial studies can also contribute to a nuanced development of activity theory insofar as the entrepreneurial object of activity (opportunity recognition and its pursuit through creating a business) has what I identify as an aesthetic as well as pragmatic logic.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom