Entrepreneurial Energy in a Far-From-Equilibrium Opportunity Driving Entrepreneurial Actions.
Disequilibrium, and complexity are the distinguishing characteristics of entrepreneurial phenomena. How do the entrepreneurs arbitrage, leverage and benefit in the disequilibria and what spur them to action?
The force that drives entrepreneurial ventures, from creation to sustaining them through to exit, and then through innovation to extend the game or recreate another play, there is an imminent force that holds and sustains entrepreneurial momentum. Entrepreneurial energy, a coined terminology in this paper, is that endogenous force. There are scarce researches on energy relating to entrepreneurship, in particular, there is no specific mention of the “entrepreneurial energy” in the theory of entrepreneurship. The closest proxy is entrepreneurial passions. Passion cannot be held in equal doses throughout the venture pathway. John Maynard Keynes coined the phrase "animal spirits" in his 1936 book “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”. (Keynes, 1936) He used the term to describe emotions that influence human economic behaviour. Animal spirits create an ambience of trust and faith and are a necessary prerequisite for human actions, much more than quantitative logic. Keynes felt animal spirits were needed as a goad to economic action rather than inaction. Schumpeter (Schumpeter, 1942) came up with the German word Unternehmergeist, meaning entrepreneur-spirit, adding that these individuals controlled the economy because they are responsible for delivering innovation and technological change. Whether its entrepreneurial energy, animal spirit or entrepreneur-spirit, it is a force that needs reckoning with in entrepreneurship study.
Entrepreneurial energy is the force that sustains the momentum and velocity of progression in the venture. Energy can rise through excitation/ agitation and fall through decay of the energy as a result of predicaments or failures.
Entrepreneurial energy is an endogenous force that fuels motivation and sustains entrepreneurial action and momentum. Encapsulating hope, optimism and obsessiveness, the nature and experience of the entrepreneurial energy provides meaning to the entrepreneurial pursuit and venture. Entrepreneurial energy is a motivational construct characterised by positive intense feeling, emotional arousal and internal drive and engagement in the pursuit that is salient to the self-identify of the entrepreneur. The positive affective state also generates positivity in the cognitive state fostering creativity and recognition of new patterns of information critical to opportunity recognition and exploitation in the external environment.
Entrepreneurship, after all, is a science of turbulence and change, not continuity. Turbulence is caused by certain force. Such is the force in entrepreneurship, like the wind is felt but not seen; or seen through the ruffle of the leaves but not the wind itself.
To address this omission in this area of research, this paper will demonstrate that entrepreneurial energy can be better understood if examined through the lens of complexity and quantum science. The indeterminacy in uncertainties and chaos theories best describe the dynamically complex, fast, volatile, uncertain disrupted, diverse, ambiguous, hyper-turbulent and hyperconnected entrepreneurial ecosystem. This paper contributes to entrepreneurship research by developing a complexity-based and uncertainty-based definition of entrepreneurial energy. This energy will be referred in the context of the entrepreneurial ecosystem (space) where the entrepreneurs (object) exist over time. Building on this definition, this paper connects the research on entrepreneur to venture-level complexity and entrepreneurial multi-finalities/ pathways. This paper will explore how these force originates and is sustained- that will influence entrepreneurial emergence and continuation- from intentionality of entrepreneurs and the coherence of entrepreneurial activities, through to the exploration and exploitation of perceived opportunities within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Beyond developing the theory, this paper will also explore how scholars can further examine entrepreneurial energy as a complex play of forces through interpretivist methods. The theorizations in this paper also have implications for entrepreneurs and policymakers.