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A typology of knowledge acquisition methods within the entrepreneurial process

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Abstract

Learning is a fundamental component in the creation process of any innovative company. To address this topic, the literature characterizes on the one hand the methods used to learn in an entrepreneurial situation, and on the other the links between types of learning and stages in the entrepreneurial process. These two complementary research currents both tend to agree on the idea that there are many ways of acquiring knowledge, and that learning occurs at all stages of the entrepreneurial process. However, no research has yet empirically classified the different methods of knowledge acquisition during the life cycle of a start-up. This research seeks to partly bridge this deficiency through a two-year study of a couple of emerging innovative companies, in which over one hundred knowledge acquisition situations are identified. The ten generic types that we outline take into consideration the attitude of entrepreneurs when faced with learning situations. The posture is defined through two criteria: the nature of the questions that lead to the acquisition of knowledge (open or closed) and the attitude of the entrepreneur regarding this knowledge (capture or generation). While acknowledging the continuum between these concepts, a typology of knowledge acquisition styles is proposed, comprising the four following categories: focused acquisition, open capture, active generation, and exploratory interaction. This research offers leads for theoretical study - on the links between learning and the performance of start-ups - and methodological analysis - on the uses of intervention research in the context of innovative entrepreneurship. It also leads to reflect on new types of contribution that support structures could bring to entrepreneurs.
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Dates and versions

hal-00658620 , version 1 (10-01-2012)

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  • HAL Id : hal-00658620 , version 1

Cite

Sihem Ben Mahmoud-Jouini, Thomas Paris, Sylvain Bureau. A typology of knowledge acquisition methods within the entrepreneurial process. EURAM Proceedings, 2010, Rome, Italy. ⟨hal-00658620⟩

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