Entrepreneurial Energy in a Far-From-Equilibrium Opportunity Driving
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
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.