Evaluating Opportunities: Closing the Gap between Identification and Exploitation
The aim of this paper is to examine how the evaluation process unfolds as a dynamic cognitive activity and to propose a conceptual model as a framework for future research. Design/methodology/approach: Cognitive mapping techniques are used to represent concepts and connectivity and to show how the process is structured. A sample of novice and mature small business entrepreneurs are tracked over a period of two years and observed as their opportunities evolve. Content and concept connectivity is used for analysis. Findings: Opportunity evaluation is a staged process with different entry points for novice and mature entrepreneurs. There is interplay between intuitive and analytical processing. Reflective thought provides a central hub for the mental process, contingent with experience. Social networks and teams are used for knowledge exchange and validation. Evaluation can be conceptualised as a social, collective process rather than as an individual first-person judgment. Practical implications: The model can be used by practitioners as a framework for understanding the evaluation process and to encourage reflective thought and social networking for knowledge exchange. Originality/value: The study provides a social cognitive perspective of opportunity evaluation as a collective rather than an individual judgment. This gives a more sophisticated conceptualisation of the cognitive dynamics of evaluation from perception through to action.
Citation : Evans, M. (2021) Evaluating Opportunities: Closing the Gap between Identification and Exploitation, Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference, Cardiff, October 28th-29th, 2021
Research Institute : Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes