External enablement of new venture creation: A framework
With Per Davidsson and Jan Recker
In searching for conceptualizations that offer an alternative perspective to “entrepreneurial opportunities”, the notion of external enablers has recently been suggested for capturing the influence on entrepreneurial action and outcomes exerted by external conditions like new technologies, regulatory or demographic shifts, and changes to the socio-cultural, economic, political, or natural environments. We take the external enabler perspective several steps further. We develop a new framework that conceptualizes external enablers in terms of their characteristics, roles, and mechanisms and detail their implications for entrepreneurial action and outcomes. We argue that this framework provides a more productive perspective for theorizing about the influence of external, actor-independent factors on venture creation processes than Discovery Theory’s notion of objective, pre-existing opportunities. At the same time, it is compatible with the dynamic-agentic view of new venture creation proposed by varieties of Creation Theory. For researchers who are interested in instances of societal change from a sociological or historical vantage point, the framework facilitates theorizing across such instances and about the microfoundations of aggregate-level changes. Additional domains that can benefit from our new framework include design- and strategy-oriented research and practice.