Entrepreneurship and Chance: Evidence of Happy Coincidences, Serendipity, Synchronicity, Black Swan Events, or the “Hand of God”?

Entrepreneurship and Chance: Evidence of Happy Coincidences, Serendipity, Synchronicity, Black Swan Events, or the “Hand of God”?

Alexandra França (University of Vigo, Spain) and Orlando Lima Rua (Polytechnic of Porto, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6942-8.ch006

Abstract

The unpredictability of business activities means that entrepreneurs should find a way to adapt and embrace chance. The traditional and predefined process logic offers little support for today's complex and dynamic business environment. One tenet that shaped the direction of entrepreneurship research is the view that the entrepreneurial opportunity discovery and development is linear, systematic, and rational, that is, it is assumed that all factors are measurable and knowable. However, unknowable instances of coincidence, randomness, and chance factors can play a significant role in new venture creation. The authors propose that these factors point to the nonlinear and acausal phenomenon of chance. This research proposal intends to address entrepreneurs' alternative mechanisms, other than the classic formal planning model, to harness opportunities or overcome setbacks arising from chance. To achieve our purpose, the authors examine qualitative data drawn from entrepreneurial activity of Spain and Portugal.
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Literature Review

Currently, it is generally acknowledged that entrepreneurial activity is one of the primary drivers of industrial dynamism, economic development, and growth (Carlsson et al., 2013).

Indeed, societies do not grow and prosper without entrepreneurs. For the purpose of this research, entrepreneurship is defined as one’s ability and willingness to perceive new economic opportunities, seize and market these opportunities in the face of uncertainty. This may consist in new products, new processes, new modes of organization, and new product-market combinations, but they may also consist in spotting new opportunities (Bjørnskov & Foss, 2008; Wennekers & Thurik, 1999).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Entrepreneurship: Creative human process, which implies person’s will of taking on responsibilities and the mental ability of identifying opportunities where others find only chaos, contradictions, or confusion.

Synchronicity: Stripped off the fantasy, magic, superstition surrounding unpredictable, startling, and impressive events that seem to be connected.

Serendipity: Is more than luck and it can lead to surprising opportunities, serendipity addresses uncertainty rather than risk and it is in these contexts that lays the greatest potential for economic profit.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities: Consists of a set of ideas, beliefs, and actions that enable the creation of future goods and services in the absence of current markets for them.

Opportunity: Opportunities exist when there are competitive imperfections in factor or product markets. Entrepreneurs exploit these competitive imperfections to generate economic profits.

Black Swan Events: Black Swan event as a highly improbable incident with three characteristics: 1) it is totally unpredictable; 2) its impact is massive; 3) it is amenable to explanation, after the fact, so that in retrospect it appears predictable, not random.

Entrepreneurial Behavior: The ability to recognize an opportunity or even to create an opportunity and the exploitation or commercialization of the opportunity.

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