The suitability of the configuration approach in entrepreneurship research

The aim of this paper is to discuss the configuration approach as applied in the context of new ventures. A key topic in entrepreneurship research is the analysis of new venture performance (NVP) and change. Taking into account variations in the population of new ventures and considering the complex nature of NVP and development, the configuration approach may be helpful for these analyses. The configuration approach seeks to identify firm types and explicitly considers interrelations between personal, structural, strategic, and environmental factors pertaining to new ventures. In doing this, refined modelling of NVP and an integration of theoretical approaches in entrepreneurship research may be achieved. However, the configuration approach may not be applied without a prior discussion of its suitability to the research context of new ventures. Any time a research approach is applied in a (new) research context, key aspects of this approach may be violated, which could lead to questionable results. We discuss key assumptions of the configuration approach, the concepts of fit, of equifinality, of reductive mechanisms, and of configuration changes, and find that these building blocks also apply in the context of new ventures. Then, we argue that a specific emphasis on the founder and on the environment and the consideration of unique variable patterns are elements of a configuration approach for new ventures.

Journal or Publication:
Entrepreneurship & Regional Development
Rainer Harms
Sascha Kraus
Erich Schwarz
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