Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 1995

Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
1995 Edition

1995 Abstracts

Navigational Aids

  • Babson-Kauffman Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BKERC)
  • Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Topical Index
  • Return to Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 1995 Edition
  • Research (General)

  • Table Of Contents

    Order hard copy editions of Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research by mail

    The tables and graphs in this document are currently unavailable online.  Please see online Order Form at if you wish to order a copy of


    Cecilia M. Falbe, University at Albany – S.U.N.Y.
    Laurie Larwood, University of Nevada, Reno


    The study explored differences in the strategic visions of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs, compared differences in their personal qualities, firm and industry context, and examined the effect of these contextual variables on dimensions of vision. The results identified seven dimensions of vision, a replication of previous vision studies. There were significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs on several vision dimensions including proactive adaptation, a measure of innovation and flexibility. Both personal and contextual variables predicted some dimensions of vision and firm and industry change were significant predictors of a competitive and bottom line oriented vision.


    The topic of vision is discussed extensively in both the academic and management literature. The majority of this work asserts that a vision that is carefully crafted, tied to the mission of the firm, and communicated to members at all levels of a firm, is a key factor in developing a sustainable competitive advantage. Organizational outcomes such as renewal of a firm and continuous quality improvement are also linked to vision. Vision is seen as important to leadership, strategy implementation, and change (cf. Doz and Prahalad, 1987; Hunt, 1991, pp. 199-203; Robbins and Duncan, 1988; Sashkin, 1988). A few articles discuss the dark side of vision noting that in some cases vision exercises are superficial activities that have little meaning to the majority of a firm's employees. Only a few articles and books move beyond theory and speculation toward operationalization of the concept, and actually carry out empirical studies of vision.

    The relationship of entrepreneurship and vision also receives extensive attention in the entrepreneurship literature. While a few works present conceptual models, most discuss either the ways in which the visions of entrepreneurs are likely to differ from other executives or the role of vision in entrepreneurial success. There are few, if any, large scale empirical studies of entrepreneurial vision. Although this gap reflects the gap in the general literature on vision, it is particularly surprising in the case of entrepreneurial vision. Entrepreneurship is now portrayed as the key driver in future economic development. New businesses are credited with providing the majority of new jobs in the economy while job loss through downsizing and reengineering is attributed to large established firms. New and small businesses also develop more than their share of product and service innovation. In addition, entrepreneurship plays an important role in organization growth and development (Burgelman, 1985; Jones & Butler, 1992), and strategic management (Gartner, 1985). Thus there is broad concern with understanding and explaining entrepreneurial success The present study addresses the lack of empirical research on entrepreneurial vision. The study explores similarities and differences between the visions of founders of firms and the visions of other top executives.


    Entrepreneurship is the process of creating or seizing an opportunity and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled (Bygrave, 1994; Timmons, 1994). Schumpeter (1934) described an entrepreneur as one who destroys the existing economic order by introducing new products and services, by creating new forms of organization, or by exploiting new raw materials. Entrepreneurs are also identified as the organizers of uncertainty (Knight, 1921), that is, they recognize and seize opportunities that result from uncertainties. Entrepreneurial activity can be carried out by the founding of a new business or enterprise or it can be conducted in a previously existing business (Gartner, 1985; Low & MacMillan, 1988).

    One popular image of successful entrepreneurship that informs research on individual entrepreneurs concerns the person who starts a new business, nurtures it through the startup stage, drives it to growth and finally a sale, merger or a public offering. Fewer studies focus on successful new business founders who remain with the business through the stages of growth and maturity. The popular business press provides some rather sensational examples of founders who continue to develop new opportunities and create value for their fast growing companies, e. g.. Phil Knight of Nike, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and the late Sam Walton of Wal-Mart. The research literature is less informative about the extent to which founders continue their entrepreneurial activities as the organization matures. Studies that examined differences between entrepreneurs and managers provide mixed findings. Schein (1983) found that entrepreneurs had a significant role in creating a unique organizational culture. Other studies indicated that founders strongly desire to control the activities of their organizations (Gray & Ariss, 1985; Mintzberg, 1984) On the other hand, some studies that examined a number of factors that were assumed to differ between entrepreneurs and managers, e. g., an internal locus of control and a propensity for risk-taking, found that there were no significant differences (Low & MacMillan, 1988) while other studies found differences (Kao, 1989; Timmons, 1994). In general, there are few systematic studies examining differences between entrepreneurs and managers (Kao, 1989) At present, we have limited empirical knowledge about the extent to which founders who remain with their growing firms differ significantly in preferences and behavior from other top executives (Miller & Simmons, 1992).

    In this study of established firms, we distinguished respondents as founders (entrepreneurs who held or did not hold a controlling share of the business), owners (executives who held a controlling share but were not founders of the business) and other executives. The mixed findings in the literature offer a rationale for testing whether there are significant differences in visions between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs.

    The first hypothesis states:

    Hypothesis 1a. Entrepreneurs differ significantly from non-entrepreneurs (owners and other executives) regarding their general vision for their firm.

    An agency theory perspective (Eisenhardt, 1989; Jensen & Meckling, 1976) provides the basis for testing an alternative hypothesis. Both founders and owners of a firm fill the role of principal while other executives assume the role of agents. Research indicates that principals and agents differ widely in their objectives for the firm. Based on common interests, the vision of founders and owners should be similar and differ somewhat from the visions of other executives.

    The second hypothesis states:

    Hypothesis 1b. Founders and owners differ significantly from non-entrepreneurs (other executives) regarding their general vision for their firm.


    Dimensions of Vision

    A substantial body of work, both popular and academic, asserts that executives are able to articulate a vision for their firm (cf. Kouzes & Posner, 1987;; Sashkin, 1987; Westley & Mintzberg, 1989). Previous studies on vision content (Falbe, Kriger, Larwood and Miesing, 1993; Larwood, Falbe, Kriger and Miesing, 1995) examined vision among top executives across a mix of firms. The research discerned seven underlying vision factors that were stable across their samples of executives: (1) Vision Formulation tied to a strategic emphasis, (2) Vision Implementation indicative of successful communication and integration, (3) Proactive Adaptation showing flexible and innovative responsiveness, (4) Detailed emphasizing a "detailed" and "formalized" approach, (5) General indicating "general" and "difficult to describe", (6) Profit-Oriented, with a "competitive" and "bottom line" orientation, and (7) Risk-Taking including both "risky" and rejection of "conservative."

    Entrepreneurial and Managerial Vision

    Entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs might at first be assumed to have the same interests in mind for their firms -- growth, profitability, and concern for other important constituencies. However, entrepreneurs may be more likely to envision the organization strategically as an extension of themselves and their needs (cf. Bird & Jelinek, 1988; Hornaday, 1992; Timmons, 1994).

    A number of researchers have pointed out the importance of planning to entrepreneurial vision (Bird, 1992), while others have noted the frequent lack of specificity and planning at this level or suggested that entrepreneurs need not be overly concerned with specific planning (Waddell, 1992). It might be expected that entrepreneurs, who are often located in smaller firms, would be less likely than non-entrepreneurs to take the time to carefully formulate long-term strategic plans, despite the undeniable importance of those plans. Instead, they might be more concerned with flexibility and getting the job at hand done (Bird & Jelinek, 1988) and be more aware of the financial and ego risk they are taking in their firms (Sims, 1991). Based on the literature, the visions of entrepreneurs were expected to score lower on vision formulation.

    Hypothesis 2. Entrepreneurs will score lower on Vision Formulation, than non-entrepreneurs

    The variables that make up the factor of proactive adaptation are directly associated with an entrepreneurial mode by a number of researchers. Innovation is viewed as a good in itself and associated to some extent with considerable risk-taking in product-market strategies (Miller & Friesen, 1984). The approach is adaptive, flexible, and action-oriented and suggestive of a proactive strategy (Miles and Snow, 1978). The pattern reflects an entrepreneurial design archetype which is assumed to influence the organization's future and the vision of those directing it (Greenwood and Hinings 1988; McKelvey, 1980; Miller and Friesen, 1980). In addition, entrepreneurs are often characterized as more skilled at envisioning and in appealing to others to pursue entrepreneurial objectives (Kao, 1989). Based on previous findings, the visions of entrepreneurs were expected to score higher than the visions of other executives on the dimension of proactive adaptation.

    Hypothesis 3. Entrepreneurs will score higher on Proactive Adaptation than non-entrepreneurs

    The risk-taking propensity of entrepreneurs is a research question of long-standing concern in the literature. Risk-taking has been associated with entrepreneurs in a number of works (Kao, 1989; Miller & Friesen, 1984; Timmons, 1994). However other findings indicate that entrepreneurs are moderate risk takers and do not differ significantly from managers (Brockhaus, 1980; Low & MacMillan, 1988; Vesper, 1990). In this study, we assume that risk-taking is closely associated with innovation and adaptation and therefore is likely to be more prominent in the visions of entrepreneurs than in the visions of non-entrepreneurs.

    Hypothesis 4. Entrepreneurs will score higher on Risk-Taking than non-entrepreneurs

    Differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs on other dimensions of vision were not expected. For example, variables such as communication (cf. Denton & Wisdom, 1989) and profit orientation (Hornaday, 1992) often are identified as of major importance to vision, irrespective of the form of organization.


    Personal Differences

    There is an extensive literature on the psychological and social differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. An examination of the numerous propositions, many of which are based on inconclusive evidence, was beyond the objectives of this paper. Instead, we focused on a small number of variables, related to vision, that were expected to differ between entrepreneurs and executive managers. A number of studies found that entrepreneurs strongly desire to control the activities of their organizations (Gray & Ariss, 1985; Mintzberg, 1984).. We asked respondents to estimate how much control they exercised in their firm and a second question asked them the amount of control they would like to exercise in their firm. Respondents were also asked the extent to which their own vision agreed with creativity and personal financial success and power. Finally we also asked the length of their tenure in their present position.

    Given the limited specific empirical research on the relationship of these variables to entrepreneurial vision, we did not test specific hypotheses but rather explored differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs on these personal qualities and preferences and examined the relation of these variables to the dimensions of vision. In the area of personal differences and entrepreneurial vision, it is likely that there are significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs; the question is the extent of the impact of such differences on the dimensions of vision.

    Differences in the Acceptance and Support for Vision

    Recent literature on organization quality and renewal suggests that for vision to have an impact, it must be important to the firm and widely shared (Nanus, 1992; Schwartz, 1991). We asked respondents questions concerning how important the vision was to top management, the extent to which the vision was shared, the length of time the vision had been held by the organization and how far into the future the organization was planning.

    The management literature provides two perspectives on these contextual dimensions of vision in regard to type of firm. The first is that vision does not differ across various types of organizations because the core dimensions of vision are equally important to entrepreneurs' and non-entrepreneurs' firms. A contrasting perspective is that, despite its seeming ubiquity, vision may be developed and used differently in different organization types. Observers have noted that vision is likely to be tied to the uniqueness of the situation of the organization (Cossette & Audet, 1992; Nanus, 1992, p. 29). There is some speculation that in entrepreneurial firms, vision is more likely to be shared and considered important perhaps because of the presence of the founder and the likely existence of a smaller, more closely-knit top management team (Timmons, 1994).

    We did not find a solid platform for proposing and testing hypotheses but rather we explored differences in these vision support variables between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs and examined their association with the dimensions of vision.

    Firm Context

    There has been speculation to the effect that chief executives of major firms have fundamentally different visions from those in smaller, newer firms, entrepreneurial ventures or even non-profit organizations (cf. Waddell, 1992; Sashkin, 1990, personal communication). This view is consistent with the extensive literature on the effects of both organization size and age on other organizational characteristics such as creativity and innovation, capacity for adaptation and flexibility, and proactive responses to change (Miller & Friesen, 1984). The organizational literature on life cycle also provides evidence for the assumption that as organizations grow older and larger, they become more bureaucratic and less adaptive (Greiner, 1972; Kimberly, Miles & Associates, 1980).

    Cumulative research findings in the area of organizational characteristics provide support for proposing that organization size and age will affect some dimensions of vision.

    Hypothesis 5a. Organization size will have a positive effect on the dimensions of Vision Formulation and Detail

    Hypothesis 5b. Organization size will have a negative effect on the dimension of Proactive Adaptation

    Hypothesis 6a. Organization age will have a positive effect on the dimensions of Vision Formulation and Detail

    Hypothesis 6b. Organization age will have a negative effect on the dimension of Proactive Adaptation

    Finally, we asked executives the amount of change that they perceived in their firms and the amount of change that they perceived in their industry. We assumed that the more rapid the perceived change, the higher the score on Proactive Adaptation.

    Hypothesis 7a. Organization change will have a positive effect on the dimension of Proactive Adaptation

    Hypothesis 7b. Industry change will have a positive effect on the dimension of Proactive Adaptation



    Five samples of participating firms were available from an ongoing series of studies concerning organizational vision (Falbe, Kriger, Larwood & Miesing, 1993). Four of the samples were regional, including firms in the northeast southeast, and western US metropolitan areas, and firms in an intermountain state. The metropolitan samples were selected from lists provided by local business publications; the statewide sample was obtained through the state SBDC. Approximately 250 firms in each location were asked to participate subject to the following stratification: 1) locally headquartered, 2) not listed on a major stock exchange, 3) at least 10 employees, 4) sales or revenues in excess of $1 million but less than $100 million; 5) a limit of 10 firms chosen at random in any of any one SIC code. The national sample was custom constructed in conjunction with a mailing list research firm. It consisted of the CEOs and COOs of independent firms across the US with annual sales over $100 million but under $1 billion.

    Participation was obtained from 401 of the 1245 executives contacted or 32% of the combined sample. In this study one of the samples (northeast) was excluded because information on executive status was incomplete. In the analysis, no significant differences were found between respondents and non-respondents; nonetheless there may be differences which were not present in the available data. Based on the sample design, there were differences in firm size between the national and the regional sample.

    Forty-five percent of the respondents were founders of their firms, while 42% had a controlling financial interest. The two independent variables (Founders and Owners) were correlated with one another (r = .486, p greater than .001).

    Vision Instrument

    The present study used the vision survey procedure developed by the Vision Research Group (Larwood, Kriger, & Falbe, 1993). Corporate chief executives wrote a brief one sentence statement of their vision for their firms. Thereafter, respondents used a 26-item list to evaluate their own vision statements. Items on the self-evaluation list had been developed as representative of the many definitions and descriptions of vision available in management literature, and did not focus on any single individual theoretical perspective. For example, items include "strategic" and "well communicated" (Conger, 1989, p. 27), "long term" and "focused" (Jacobs and Jaques, 1990; Kouzes & Posner, 1987, pp. 87-89), "inspirational", "widely accepted", and "integrated with the visions of others" (Sashkin, 1988; Sims & Lorenzi, 1992, p. 118), and "understood" and "directs effort" (Nanus, 1992, p. 29). Each item was accompanied by a five point scale anchored by "very little" (1) and "very much" (5).

    Follow-up questions consisted of three types: questions concerning the personal background and preferences of the respondent ("How long have you worked in your firm?" "How much control do you exercise in the firm?"); questions that elicited information on the acceptance and integration of the vision ("To what extent do others at the top of your firm share this vision?"); questions that measured the characteristics of the firm ("How old is your firm?"). Thus, chief executives were asked both to respond to questions about their vision for their firm, and to provide information that was expected to be of use in understanding the acceptance and integration of their visions..


    Articulation of Vision

    Underpinning this research is the notion that the concept of vision is widely accepted, with little difference between entrepreneurs and other top executives. In fact, the assertion that vision is a general phenomenon among both entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs was supported by the data. Only 10 executives responding to the Founder and Owner questions (our measures of entrepreneurship) failed to provide a statement of their vision for the organization. The vision statements were evenly distributed (for the Founder/Vision distribution p = 1.000; for Owner/Vision p =.329 by two-tail Fisher's exact tests). On this basis, it appears that the requirement of widespread use of vision was well met – both entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs were able to articulate their vision.

    Analysis of Vision Content

    Responses to the 26-item question set by which executives evaluated their own vision statements were subjected to factor analysis with subsequent Kaiser orthogonal rotation of the first seven factors with Eigenvalues exceeding 1.0 (see Table 1) The factors and loadings were similar to the research factors obtained by Falbe, Kriger, Larwood & Miesing, 1993 for their smaller data set. Factors were retained from the Falbe et al, 1993 study as there were no meaningful differences between the two sets of results. The factors were Vision Formulation, Vision Implementation, Proactive Adaptation, Detailed, General, Profit-Oriented and Risk-Taking. The results are presented in Table 1.

    Entrepreneurial and Managerial Vision

    Hypothesis 1a predicted differences among the three categories of respondents while Hypothesis 1b predicted that founders and owners would differ from other executives in their visions. The data analysis supported Hypothesis 1b, e.g., significant differences were found between other executives and founders and owners rather than between founders and owners. Measures of founder and owner were combined into a single category of entrepreneur and the other executives were scored as non-entrepreneur for the remainder of the vision dimension analysis. Another question was whether the two variables making up the entrepreneur variable would be associated with the vision factors in different ways. Correlations between each variable and the vision factors were similar (largest difference Z = 1.220, n.s.), and further tests for differences were not warranted.

    Hypotheses two, three and four predicted a series of differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in the factors describing their vision. Results for the tests of these hypotheses are presented in Table 2.

    The findings from the analyses of variance demonstrated that there were significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs on some but not all of the factors. Entrepreneurs scored significantly lower on Vision Formulation providing support for Hypothesis 2 and the notion that entrepreneurs are less likely to spend time on careful formulation of vision. As expected, entrepreneurs scored significantly higher on Proactive Adaptation supporting the prediction of Hypothesis 3. Based on the rather extensive literature on the adaptive and innovative model of entrepreneurship, Proactive Adaptation appears to be the core dimension of an entrepreneurial vision. The data also provided support for Hypothesis 4 which predicted that entrepreneurs would be more likely to score higher on Risk-Taking than would non-entrepreneurs.

    We predicted that there would not be significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs on any of the other factors. The results show that this was true in the case of the General and the Profit-Oriented factors. However, the findings indicated that entrepreneurs scored significantly higher on the Detailed factor. This outcome was not anticipated and there is not much evidence in the literature to explain this result.

    Vision Context: Differences between Entrepreneurs and Non-Entrepreneurs

    We examined differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in the areas of personal characteristics, vision support and organization setting with a series of ANOVAs. For control exercised by an executive in their firm, there were significant differences (F-ratio=7.638, p=006); the differences were between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs with entrepreneurs exercising more control. The results for control that an executive would like to exercise were reversed. There were significant differences (F-ratio=7.622, p=.006) with non-entrepreneurs desiring more control.

    In the case of tenure in position, there were also significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs (F-ratio=28.14, p=.000). Entrepreneurs had served longer in their present top positions, a finding that was not unexpected. The results for agreement of their vision with creativity also showed significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs (F-ratio=4.06, p=.05) with entrepreneurs indicating more personal identification with creativity. Finally, there were significant differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in the size of their top management team (F-ratio=9.18, p=.000) with entrepreneurs having fewer team members.

    In the areas of support and acceptance for the visions, we looked for differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in the importance of vision to top management, the extent to which the vision was shared, the length of time the vision was held and how far out the organization was planning. The results indicated that there were no significant differences. On the other hand there were considerable differences in the organizational setting of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. These findings are reported in Table 3; entrepreneurs were generally located in smaller and younger firms.

    Vision Context: Predictors of Vision Factors

    We examined the effect of personal characteristics, vision support and organization setting on the vision factors with stepwise multiple regression analysis. We regressed each factor separately on executive status, personal characteristics, vision support, firm change, industry change, and organization size (number of employees) and organization age. Following the stepwise procedure, variables were entered only if there was sufficient variance accounted for to reach a level of significance of .05. The results are presented in Table 4.

    We did not propose hypotheses to test the effect of personal characteristics and vision support variables on dimensions of vision. We did present hypotheses for testing regarding the effect of firm context: size and age, and firm and industry change on the dimensions of vision. The results provided no support for the notion that any of the dimensions of vision in the present study were affected by firm age or size as presented in hypotheses 5a through 6b. The findings also indicated no support for the effect of firm or industry change on Proactive Adaptation, although there was an effect of the change measures on Profit-Orientation.

    The findings on personal characteristics and vision support vary by dimension and deserve some comment. The importance of the vision and the length of time for future plans both had an effect on Vision Formulation while amount of control held and sharing affected Vision Implementation. Proactive adaptation was predicted by planning length (a negative relationship) and personal financial success and power (a positive relationship).


    The objective of this study was to examine the visions that entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs held for their firms. The research also looked at the context of vision, comparing differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in personal qualities, firm and industry characteristics, and examined the effect of context on the dimensions of vision. The respondents wrote their own vision statement and then evaluated it using the 26-item list developed by Larwood et al. (1993). As expected, the two groups were similar in willingness to provide a vision statement. In agreement with the work of Falbe et al. (1993), seven significant factors were found in the self-evaluations of those statements. The evaluations of entrepreneurs indicated that their visions scored lower on Vision Formulation (comprising formalized planning and strategy) and higher on Proactive Adaptation (action-oriented flexibility)and Risk Taking (risky, with a rejection of conservative). These findings supported the proposed hypotheses and the earlier work of Bird and Jelinek (1988), Sims (1991) and others. The research result suggested that Proactive Adaptation is a core element of entrepreneurial vision. The finding that the two types of executives differed on the dimension of Detailed (detailed and formalized) was unexpected.. One of the questions arising from these findings concerns the greater reliance on Detailed by entrepreneurs. The argument predicting that entrepreneurs would score relatively lower on Vision Formulation rested on their expected lack of interest in spending significant time in laying out carefully formulated plans. On the basis of the results with the Detailed factor, however, it appears that the plans themselves, rather than the detailed effort going into them, may be considered by entrepreneurs as a drawback.

    As expected, there were significant differences between entrepreneurs on personal qualities, and firm and environmental context. Few significant differences were found between founders and owners; rather the differences were between founders/owners and other executives. Agency theory provides at least a partial explanation for this pattern of differences. and it is tempting to conclude that the two groups of executives are identical. However, such a conclusion may be premature as the size of the comparison set was relatively small. The finding of no differences, however, strengthens the use of the two as a combined "Entrepreneurship" indicator in the present research.

    Additional findings showed that a proportion of the variance defining the difference between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs can be related to the different situations of the two groups, paralleling the findings of Fombrun (1989) that strategy follows situation.. Entrepreneurs were located more often in smaller and younger organizations, and top executives of those organizations were likely to define their visions differently. However it is important to note that neither firm age nor size was a significant predictor of any of the vision dimensions. In addition, firm change and industry change were important predictors of a vision based on a competitive, bottom line orientation.

    Since the present research is cross-sectional in nature, causality cannot be established. The findings indicate that the context of vision is an important corollary of the vision itself. Longitudinal studies are required to test for causal relationships. It is also useful to ask how important vision is to entrepreneurs. Although a full discussion is beyond the scope of the present article, the entrepreneurs believed that vision was important to the success of their firm (X = 3.973 on a scale from 1 [very little] to 5 [very great]; the difference between the mean and the expected value of 3.0 was significant; (t295 = 16.271, p < .001). Thus it appears that the entrepreneurs accept the concept of vision, and it seems likely that they pay some attention to putting it into practice. Nonetheless, it should be understood that those responding to the survey may have been more enthusiastic than others who did not respond. Similarly, there is no way in which one can determine the extent to which the respondents may be engaging in impression management – assuring the researchers through their responses that they are aware of and concerned with what the popular press teaches them is an important concept. A related weakness of the present technique is that executives evaluated their own visions. We know of no single objective standard that might be better, but future research will usefully apply convergent methodologies in empirically evaluating the visions of entrepreneurs, and will examine in some depth how key entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs enact their vision.

    While we urge caution in generalizing from the results of one study, this research makes a significant contribution to the literature by undertaking a comparative analysis of vision between entrepreneurs and other chief executives and examining the effect of context on vision dimensions with a sample large enough to permit hypothesis testing and make statistical inferences. The study also has implications for the future examination of entrepreneurial success since the entrepreneurs in this study are survivors; that is, they have overcome the liability of newness (Aldrich & Auster, 1986) and are successful by definition. The effect of context on vision is an important finding and suggests that future research explore this relationship further in both the entrepreneurship and organization theory literature.


    Aldrich, H., & Auster, E. (1986) Even Dwarfs Started Small: Liabilities of Age and Size and Their Strategic Implications. In B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior Vol. 8: 165-198. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

    Bird, B. J. (1992) The Operation of Intentions in Time: The Emergence of the New Venture. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 17 (1): 11-20.

    Bird, B. J., & Jelinek, M. (1988) The Operation of Entrepreneurial Intentions. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 13 (2): 21-29.

    Brockhaus, R. (1980) Risk Taking Propensity of Entrepreneurs. Academy of Management Journal, 23: 509-520.

    Burgelman, R. (1985) Managing the New Venture Division: Research Findings and Implications for Strategic Management. Strategic Management Journal, 6: 39-54.

    Bygrave, W. (1994) The Entrepreneurial Process. In W. Bygrave (Ed.) The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship. New York: Wiley.

    Conger, J. A. (1989) The Charismatic Leader: Beyond the Mystique of Exceptional Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Cossette, P, & Audet, M. (1992) Mapping an Idiosyncratic Schema. Journal of Management Studies, 29: 325-347.

    Denton, D. K., & Wisdom, B. L. (1989) Shared Vision. Business Horizons, 32 (4): 67-69.

    Doz, Y. L., & Prahalad, C. K. (1987) A Process Model of Strategic Redirection in Large Complex Firms: The Case of Multinational Corporations. In A. Pettigrew (Ed.), The Management of Strategic Change: 63-83. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.

    Eisenhardt, K. (1989) Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review. Academy of Management Review, 14, 1: 57-74.

    Falbe, C., Kriger, M. P., Larwood, L., & Miesing, P. (1993) Studies in Executive Vision: Past, Present, and Future. Symposium presented at the Strategic Management Society meeting, Chicago. Authorship is alphabetic.

    Fombrun, C. J., & Wally, S. (1989) Structuring Small Firms for Rapid Growth. Journal of Business Venturing, 4 (2): 107-122.

    Gartner, W. (1985) A Conceptual Framework for Describing the Phenomenon of New Venture Creation, Academy of Management Review, 10: 696-705.

    Gray, B. & Ariss, S. (1985) Politics and Change Across Organizational Life Cycles. Academy of Management Review, 10, 6: 707-723.

    Greenwood, R., & Hinings, C. R. (1988) Organizational Design Types, Tracks and the Dynamics of Strategic Change. Organization Studies, 9: 293-316.

    Greiner, L. (1972) Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow. Harvard Business Review, 30 (July-August), 37-46.

    Hornaday, R. W. (1992) Thinking About Entrepreneurship: A Fuzzy Set Approach. Journal of Small Business Management, 30 (4): 12-23.

    Hunt, J. G. (1991) Leadership: A New Synthesis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Jacobs, T. O., & Jaques, E. (1990) Military Executive Leadership. In K. E. Clark & M. B. Clark (Eds.), Measures of Leadership: 281-295. West Orange, NJ: Leadership Library of America. (Cited in Hunt).

    Jensen, M. & Meckling, W. (1976) Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs, and Ownership Structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3: 305-360.

    Jones, G. & Butler, J. (1992) Managing internal corporate entrepreneurship: An agency theory perspective. Journal of Management, 18: 4: 733-749.

    Kao, J. (1989) Entreprenurship, Creativity and Organization. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall

    Kimberly, J., Miles, R. & Associates. (1980) The Organizational Life Cycle. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Knight, F. (1921) Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1987) The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Larwood, L., Falbe, C. M., Kriger, M,. & Miesing, P. (1995) Structure and Meaning of Organizational Vision. Academy of Management Journal, 38, 740-769.

    Larwood, L., Kriger, M. P., & Falbe, C. (1993) Organizational Vision: An Investigation of the Vision Construct-in-Use of AACSB Business School Deans. Group and Organization Management, 18, 214-236.

    Low, M. & MacMillan, I. (1988) Entrepreneurship: Past Research and Future Challenges. Journal of Management, 14, 2: 139-161.

    McKelvey, B. (1980) Organizational Speciation. In C. C. Pinder and L. F.Moore (Eds.), Middle Range Theory and the Study of Organizations: 169-186. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Miles, R. E., & Snow, C. C. (1978) Organizational Strategy, Structure, and Process. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Miller, D., & Friesen, P. (1984) Organizations: A Quantum View. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall

    Miller, D., & Friesen, P. (1980) Archetypes of Organizational Transition. Administrative Science Quarterly: 25:269-299.

    Miller, L & Simmons, K. (1991) Differences in Management Practices of Founding and Nonfounding Chief Executives of Human Service Organizations. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 16: 31-38.

    Mintzberg, H. (1984) Power and Organization Life Cycles. Academy of Management Review, 9, 2: 207-224.

    Nanus, B. (1992) Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Robbins, S. R., & Duncan, R. B. (1988) The Role of the CEO and Top Management in the Creation and Implementation of Strategic Vision. In D. C. Hambrick (Ed.), The Executive Effect. Concepts and Methods for Studying Top Managers. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1988.

    Sashkin, M. (1987) Management Development: New Directions. Journal of Management Development, 6 (4): 19-28.

    Sashkin, M. (1988) The Visionary Leader. In J. A. Conger, and R. N. Kanugo (Eds.), Charismatic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Schein, E. (1983) The Role of the Founder in Creating Organizational Culture. Organizational Dynamics, (Summer): 13-28.

    Schumpeter, J. (1934) The Theory of Economic Development. (Translated by R. Opie.) Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.

    Schwartz, P. (1991) The Art of the Long View. New York: Doubleday.

    Sims, H. P., Jr., & Lorenzi, P. (1992) The New Leadership Paradigm: Social Learning and Cognition in Organizations. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Sims, J. (1991) Six Who Dared and Won. Money, Summer 1991: 7-19.

    Timmons, J. (1994) New Venture Creation (4th ed.) Burr Ridge, IL.: Irwin.

    Vesper, K. (1990) New venture strategies (revised). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Waddell, B. (1992) Vision: Key to Leadership in Small Companies. Business Forum, 17: 4.

    Westley, F., & Mintzberg, H. (1989) Visionary Leadership and Strategic Management. Strategic Management Journal, 10: 17-32.

    Return to Babson College
    Main Home Page
    Table of
    ©1996 Babson College. All rights reserved.
    Last updated November 22, 1996 by Cheryl Ann Lopez