A paradigm of entrepreneurship: entrepreneurial management

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Citation: Howard H. Stevenson, J. Carlos Jarillo (1990) A paradigm of entrepreneurship: entrepreneurial management. Strategic Management Journal (RSS)

doi: 10.1007/3-540-48543-0_7

Tagged: Business (RSS) entrepreneurship (RSS), management (RSS), business (RSS)


Stevenson and Jarillo (1990) was published in a special issues of Strategic Management Journal devoted to the concept of "corporate entrepreneurship." The article made a broad argument for a concept of entrepreneurial management which, at the time, they argued was still treated as something of an oxymoron.

Most of the article is a literature review of entrepreneurship -- and an excellent one at that. The authors organize the entrepreneurship literature into three key questions: the what, why, and how of entrepreneurship.

  • What: Stevenson and Jarillo describe the what literature as the fundamental literature, stemming from economics and expressed by Richard Cantillon and later Schumpeter that looks at the net effect of entrepreneurship on the general economic system. They argue that this literature: (1) "abstracts the individual entrepreneur away from his actions" to look at the effects on the environment; (2) describes entrepreneurship as responsible for economic improvement and (3) allows for a distinction between the concepts of 'entrepreneur', 'investor', and 'manager'.
  • Why: The literature based in psychology that looks at the traits of people that are associated with entrepreneurship.
  • How: How literature is rooted in management and is most strongly represented by popular "how-to" literature on managing and supporting entrepreneurship. They see this project as understudied.

The most influential contribution of the paper is the definition of entrepreneurship that builds on an earlier paper by Stevenson, Roberts, and Grousbeck (1989):

Entrepreneurship is a process by which individuals-either on their own or inside organizations-pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control.

The goal of the authors is to create a broad definition that encapsulate activity outside of firms.

The paper ends with a series of propositions that explore the results of applying this broader definition of entrepreneurship to firms in ways that might be able to measure or capture the "entrepreneurship level" of a particular firm.

Theoretical and practical relevance:

The article has been cited many hundreds of times -- primarily as a source of its definition of entrepreneurship. It successful laid the groundwork for expanding and applying the entrepreneurship literature in the context of firms.