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The entrepreneurial orientation -performance linkage in high -technology firms: An international comparative study

Jann-Marie Halvorsen Culhane, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The study of firm-level or corporate entrepreneurship (CE) has created an interest in the posture of the firm to act entrepreneurial, leading some researchers to develop the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) construct, the dimensions of which are firm-level risk taking, proactiveness, and innovativeness (Miller & Friesen, 1982). Lumpkin and Dess (1996) subsequently expanded the construct to include competitive aggressiveness and autonomy. The results of empirical research on various antecedents and moderators to the EO-performance linkage have been mixed and a myriad of taxonomic and modeling approaches has not served to facilitate a CE paradigm. From the strategy literature, entrepreneurship scholars have borrowed the focus on alignment or fit between the organization and its environment and have introduced structural contingency and configuration frameworks to the EO modeling process. The relatively limited international research in EO includes primarily single-country studies, with some cross-cultural research based on Hoftsede's (1980) dimensions. The majority of these studies have involved samples of small and medium-size, established firms across multiple manufacturing industries. Based on the Miller and Friesen (1982) and Lumpkin and Dess (1996) models, this study explores the intersection of three domains—entrepreneurship, strategy and comparative international research. A contingency approach is used to explore the impact of various combinations of EO, environmental forces and organizational factors on the performance of small and medium-sized firms in a single high-tech industry, systems integration, in the US and Germany. Challenging the strength of the EO-Performance linkage, the study looks as well at strategic process, organicity, national environment and turbulent industry environment and their impact on performance Survey data from 94 US and German executives is analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. The results suggest that EO alone is not a significant determinant of firm performance, the latter being influenced significantly by country context and the interaction of a strong strategic process or an organic firm with a turbulent industry environment. The reliability of the dimensions within the EO construct for high-tech firms is questioned and the need to contextualize the construct with respect to turbulent industries and multi-national studies addressed.

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Recommended Citation

Culhane, Jann-Marie Halvorsen, "The entrepreneurial orientation -performance linkage in high -technology firms: An international comparative study" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110476.