Academic journal article New England Journal of Entrepreneurship

Varieties of Bricolage and the Process of Entrepreneurship

Academic journal article New England Journal of Entrepreneurship

Varieties of Bricolage and the Process of Entrepreneurship

Article excerpt

Bricolage is a concept first considered by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1967) as a part of his exploration of the nature of sensemaking in some societies. This notion has been extended into many other disciplines. Briefly, it is a propensity to rely on resources at hand in accomplishing critical tasks and/or in accomplishing goals (cf. Duymedjian and Ruling, 2010 for a recent review). We argue here that entrepreneurship is enabled through a variety of types of entrepreneurial bricolage (Baker & Aldrich, 2000), which we hereafter referred to only as "bricolage." Bricolage is fundamentally important to venturing because venturing is a process of adaptive design (Sarasvathy, Dew, Read and Wiltbank, 2008). Bricolage enables the adaptive design process by making solutions to problems more achievable, by making critical resources more obtainable and by reducing costs. We contribute to efforts to identify further the various forms of bricolage used by entrepreneurs, the strategies by which those forms are employed, the mechanisms through which they are expressed and the ways in which these change during various stages of the entrepreneurial process. We argue that if aspiring entrepreneurs can be given a concisely delineated conceptual framework that identifies methods and approaches for navigating the entrepreneurial process productively, these individuals may have a greater chance of success.

The main purpose of this paper is to address the following research question :How does bricolage influence the process of entrepreneurshipFWe theorize that bricolage makes entrepreneurship viable by providing individuals with the means to progress through the entrepreneurial process. Entrepreneurs utilize the techniques of bricolage to leverage internal and external resources to parse, to re-conceptualize, to appropriate and to assemble resources and to rework and to present narratives about the entrepreneur, venture and/or the process in such a way as to solicit further contributions of resources that can sustain and/or advance the venture. The contributions of such a scheme consist of establishing the importance of bricolage in the entrepreneurial process, incorporating an understanding of the mechanisms and methods by which bricolage is expressed and showing the value of making a contrast between internal and external bricolage to scholars of entrepreneurship.

In reviewing the literature on bricolage, Baker and Nelson (2005) characterize bricolage as a concept having three core elements: making due with what's at hand, taking on diverse or novel tasks, and accumulating and using diverse skills and resources. Baker and Nelson (2005) dealt particularly with conditions of extreme environmental constraint and argued that bricolage enables entrepreneurial activity under conditions where the startup, growth or survival of a venture (and, by implication, the entrepreneur) might not otherwise be possible. Similarly, DiDomenico, Haugh and Tracey (2010) characterize bricolage as making do with available resources, a refusal to be constrained by limitations, and improvisation. These descriptions are not inconsistent with the work of Sarasvathy (2001, 2008) who argues that successful entrepreneurs more skillfully or completely exploit established social relationships, existing knowledge, and claimable identities to reduce the risk of investment loss in a new venture. Sarasvathy examines closely the mental processes of entrepreneurs, and then makes a strong case for using this information to derive theory that elucidates effective practice. The author coins the word effectuation to describe the propensity of successful entrepreneurs to rely on controllable resources as a means of limiting the risk of loss of investments in a venture. We argue that one important component of her theory is that successful entrepreneurs make do with controllable resources at hand, which can be seen as a form of bricolage.

We posit that bricolage takes two distinct forms- internal and external- which serve different functions in the entrepreneurial process under different conditions and at different times. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.