Acting as If: Differentiating Entrepreneurial from Organizational Behavior

By Gartner, William B.; Bird, Barbara J. et al. | Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, Spring 1992 | Go to article overview

Acting as If: Differentiating Entrepreneurial from Organizational Behavior


Gartner, William B., Bird, Barbara J., Starr, Jennifer A., Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice


This paper suggests that entrepreneurship is the process of "emergence." An organizational behavior perspective on entrepreneurship would focus on the process of organizational emergence. The usefulness of the emergence metaphor is explored through an exploration of two questions that are the focus of much of the research in organizational behavior: "Whet do persons In organizations do?" (we will explore this question by looking at research and theory on the behaviors of managers), and "Why do they do what they do?" (ditto for motivation). The paper concludes with some Implications for using the idea of emergence as a way to connect theories and methodologies from organizational behavior to entrepreneurship.

"The details are not details. They make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections."--Charles Eames

The purpose of this article is to propose some relationships between the entrepreneurship and organizational behavior disciplines. We suggest that thinking of entrepreneurship as the process of "emergence" offers a very fruitful metaphor for relating entrepreneurship to other disciplines. This paper uses the emergence metaphor to explore how the organizational behavior area might be connected to entrepreneurship by thinking about the organizational aspects of entrepreneurship--entrepreneurship as organizational emergence.

Connecting entrepreneurship to a discipline that is inherently multidisiplinary (organizational behavior) in a special issue of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice that is devoted to exploring how various disciplines might offer new theoretical insights into the nature of entrepreneurship presented us with some interesting challenges. One challenge involved specifying the unique aspects of organizational behavior (vis-a-vis the other disciplines) as a focus of study. As Pfeffer (1985) points out, organizational behavior borrows from sociology, psychology, economics, political science, and anthropology. Identifying organizational behavior's specificity is, therefore, problematical. Weick (1979, p. 31) indicates that "organizational behavior" is inherently ambiguous:

... one is never certain whether it means behavior that occurs in

a specific place, behavior with reference to some certain place,

behavior controlled by an organization, behavior that creates an

organization, or just what.

While Nord (1976) suggests that organizational behavior is connected to psychology and sociology, it is neither one nor the other. Organizational behavior is about organizations, a phenomenon that is not the sum of individual processes (e.g., need for affiliation), or the manifestation of a particular social process (e.g., transactions). Organizations are simultaneous individual and social phenomena (Katz & Kahn, 1966; Weick, 1979) that require a multitude of different disciplinary perspectives in order to see their natural complexities.

Besides the necessity of seeing organizations from a multitude of disciplines, another source of ambiguity stems from the multilevel nature of organizations; that is, talk about organizational behavior at any level of analysis (e.g., individual, group, organization, community, society) requires a recognition of the other levels as well.

In our review of the organizational behavior literature for ideas and methodologies that might lend more substance to the entrepreneurship area, we found that there is no dominant paradigm in organizational behavior, only a multitude of various perspectives and ideologies. Pfeffer concluded his review of the organizational behavior literature with the observation that organizational behavior was a form of "lay preaching" (Pfeffer, 1982, p. 293). If organizational behavior is, in fact, "lay preaching," it seems appropriate that this review be offered as a particular gospel about entrepreneurship: one of many possible sets of beliefs that might be true about entrepreneurship as a phenomenon. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Acting as If: Differentiating Entrepreneurial from Organizational Behavior
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.