Opportunity Discovery Measurement Scale Bleg
| Nicolai Foss |
Opportunity discovery is a key construct in large parts of the recent management literature on entrepreneurship (e.g., this important paper). We have often blogged on opportunity discovery here on O&M, for example, noting the problematic relation of the management construct of opportunity discovery to Kirzner’s original notion, and suggesting that new projects may be superior units of analysis for certain purposes.
Still, the sensing, perception, discovery of, etc. opportunities is surely relevant in entrepreneurship studies and should not be bypassed. Which brings us to the issue of, How is it measured? Given that dozens of articles have been written now with “opportunity discovery” in the title, I am struck by the paucity of empirical work that actually makes a stab at measuring opportunity discovery. Most articles on opportunity discovery are theoretical. And most consider the antecedents of opportunity discovery (e.g., personal knowledge, psychological attributes, search costs) rather than the discovery itself.
I suppose what we are interested in measuring is the discovery, by entrepreneurs or organizations, of opportunities, understood as new projects or ideas for projects that are uncertain, require some commitment of resources and are potentially be high in appropriable value.
There are to my knowledge (so far) only two studies that explicitly use a measurement scale for capturing opportunity discovery, both by the same author team (here and here) (the Shane paper that I linked to above does not develop a scale although it does deal empirically with opportunity discovery). Essentially, they use a simple count scale: “Respondents were presented with a statement asking them, ‘how many opportunities for creating or purchasing a business have you identified within the last five years.’ They were presented with eight opportunity identification outcomes (i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to 10, or more than 10 opportunities).”
Do you know of other scales in the literature(s)?