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NOTE: Since 2009 the title of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (IJEE) has been changed to the title above.  ISSN numbers: IJEE 1649-2269 and IRE 2009-2822

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The Unit of Analysis in Entrepreneurship Research: Opportunities or Investments?

IJEE Vol 6: Issue 3, 2008

Author(s): Peter G. Klein (University of Missouri, USA) and Nicolai J. Foss (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)

Abstract:
The entrepreneurship literature in management research focuses increasingly on
opportunities—their creation or discovery, evaluation, and exploitation—as the unit of analysis. We
argue first, that the opportunity perspective emerged from the “functional” literature in the
economics of entrepreneurship (mainly the works of Israel Kirzner), a literature that emphasizes not
the individual entrepreneur per se, but the functions (e.g., market clearing) that entrepreneurs
undertake in a market economy; second, that most notions of entrepreneurship in economics and
management are not easily integrated into the theory of the firm; third, that the popular emphasis on
opportunity discovery tends to direct attention from opportunity exploitation, and therefore the firm;
and fourth, that the Cantillon-Knight-Mises view of entrepreneurship as judgment links more
naturally with the economic theory of the firm.

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