Purpose – Whether opportunities are discovered or created by entrepreneurs is a foundational question in entrepreneurship research. The purpose of this paper is to examine women entrepreneurs in high-growth new ventures and explore the cognitive resources that distinguish between three approaches to opportunity perception: opportunity discovery; opportunity creation; and a combined discover-create (ambidextrous) approach.

Design/methodology/approach – Using questionnaire responses from 165 women entrepreneurs in highgrowth new ventures, K-means clustering was used to determine three approaches to opportunity perception. The cognitive resources associated with each approach were then identified using multiple discriminant analysis. Finally, multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to examine the relationship between opportunity perception and growth expectations.

Findings – These results demonstrate different approaches to opportunity perception among entrepreneurs in high-growth new ventures, the cognitive resources that reinforce each approach, and the expected new venture growth outcomes.

Research limitations/implications – The findings offer insight on the cognitive origins of opportunity perception by empirically identifying distinct approaches to opportunity perception and the cognitive resources that underlie each. The study relies on a unique sample of entrepreneurs to understand complex cognitive phenomenon.

Practical implications – Understanding the effects that cognitive factors have on opportunity perception provides direction for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. The findings and instrument may be used for professional development and to inform educational strategies.

Originality/value – The findings offer important contributions to entrepreneurial theory and practice by addressing repeated calls for research that examines the cognitive antecedents enabling opportunity formation (discovery, creation or both). This manuscript empirically does so, while opening up possibilities for future research.



Included in

Marketing Commons



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/mkt_fac/36