Submission Window: August 1, 2021 to September 3, 2021
Entrepreneurs do not literally “create something from nothing” (Baker & Nelson, 2005). Apart from human agency (Shane, 2003) and social interaction (Alvarez & Barney, 2007; Wood & McKinley, 2010), they need some raw material to work with. Environmental changes – be they technological, regulatory, demographic, economic, socio-cultural, or natural-environmental – are important sources of such raw material. Whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ for the economy overall, all such changes are likely to be beneficial for some types of new economic activity.
Compared to the abundance of concepts and statements pertaining to entrepreneurial agents, the strategic role of environmental change remains under-emphasized and under-theorized in contemporary entrepreneurship and strategy research (Agarwal et al., 2017; Chandra, 2018; Davidsson, 2019). The obvious role of new technology in many recent entrepreneurial successes highlights the need for increased attention to the role of agent-independent, external change for strategy (Porter & Heppelman, 2014) and entrepreneurship (Autio et al., 2018; Nambisan, 2017). Socio-cultural, demographic, regulatory, and economic changes – even natural and man-made disasters – likewise provide new entrepreneurial potential either independent of or in conjunction with new technology.
A good library of theories, concepts, and evidence exists for the entrepreneurial inclinations and capacities of entrepreneurial agents such as individuals and organizations. There are good reasons to argue that an equally rich set of theories, concepts, and evidence should be developed for capturing the entrepreneurial potential in environmental change. Moreover, agent-focused theories may not reach their full potential without better theory and evidence regarding variance in characteristics and potentials among the environmental changes to which agents respond.