Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Sustaining entrepreneurial business: a complexity\ud perspective on processes that produce emergent practice

By Ted Fuller, Lorraine Warren and Paul Argyle


This article examines the management practices in an entrepreneurial small firm which sustain the business. Using a longitudinal qualitative case study, four general processes are identified (experimentation, reflexivity, organising and sensing), that together provide a mechanism to sustain the enterprise. The analysis draws on concepts from entrepreneurship and complexity science. We suggest that an entrepreneur’s awareness of the role of these parallel processes will facilitate their approaches to sustaining and developing enterprises. We also suggest that these processes operate in parallel at multiple levels, including the self, the business and inter-firm networks. This finding contributes to a general theory of entrepreneurship. A number of areas for further research are discussed arising from this result

Topics: N100 Business studies, N200 Management studies
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s11365-007-0047-y
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship, doi
  2. (2004). Bridging the micro-macro divide: a new basis for social science, doi
  3. (2001). Bridging the Relevance Gap: Aligning Stakeholders in the doi
  4. (2001). Causation And Effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency, doi
  5. (1987). Chaos: Making a New Science doi
  6. (1994). Competing for the future Boston:
  7. (2002). Complex acts of knowing: paradox and descriptive self awareness, doi
  8. (2002). Complexity and management, Fad or radical challenge to systems thinking? doi
  9. (1999). Complexity and management: Moving from fad to firm foundations, doi
  10. (1999). Complexity Metaphors and The Process of Small Business Foresighting.
  11. (2005). Complexity theories and Organisational Change, doi
  12. (2005). Complexity theory and strategic change: an empirically informed critique, doi
  13. (1999). Complexity Theory in Organization Science: Seizing the Promise or Becoming a Fad? Emergence doi
  14. (2001). Cultural entrepreneurship: stories, legitimacy, and the acquisition of resources, doi
  15. (1990). Dropping the E-words from small business research,
  16. (1998). Emergence
  17. (2000). Emergence as a process of self-organizing - New assumptions and insights from the study of non-linear dynamic systems, doi
  18. (2003). Entrepreneurs' start-up cognitions and behaviors: dreams, surprises, shortages, and fast zigzags. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
  19. (2003). Entrepreneurship Research in Emergence: Past Trends and Future Directions, doi
  20. (1988). Entrepreneurship: Past Research and Future Challenges, doi
  21. (1989). Exploring Complexity: An Introduction doi
  22. (2005). High technology clustering through spinout and attraction: the Cambridge case. doi
  23. (1994). Managing Current and Future Competitive Performance: The Role of Competence,
  24. (2001). Many are called, but few are chosen: an evolutionary perspective for the study of entrepreneurship. doi
  25. (2006). Measuring emergence in the dynamics of new venture creation, doi
  26. (2000). Moving beyond metaphor: towards a methodology for grounding complexity in small business and entrepreneurship research, Emergence;
  27. (1997). Of chaos and complexity: managerial insights from a new science, doi
  28. (1984). Order Out of Chaos: Mans New Dialogue with Nature. doi
  29. (1982). Organizational Systematics Berkeley: doi
  30. (2005). Organizing far from equilibrium: nonlinear change in organizational fields, doi
  31. (1929). Process and reality, an essay in cosmology Cambridge [Eng.]:
  32. (1988). Properties of Emerging Organizations, doi
  33. (2003). Relationships Mean Everything, doi
  34. (1992). Rewriting gender into organizational theorizing; directions from feminist perspectives,
  35. (1999). Self-Organization, Complexity Catastrophe, and Microstate Models at the Edge of Chaos, doi
  36. (2002). Self-organized transitions: A pattern amid the chaos of transformative change, doi
  37. (2001). Small enterprises as complex adaptive systems: a methodological question? Entrepreneurship and Regional Development doi
  38. (1985). Strategic Awareness, Personal Commitment and the Process of Planning in the Small Business, doi
  39. (2003). Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics, the Challenge of Complexity London:
  40. System of Logic London: Longmans,
  41. (1999). The coevolution of new organizational forms, doi
  42. (1997). The Innovators Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail doi
  43. (2000). The Matrix of Complexity; A Multi-Disciplinary Approach for Studying Emergence in Coevolution, in
  44. (1997). The Role of Socially Constructed Temporal Perspectives in the Emergence of Rapid Growth Firms, Entrepreneurship: Theory
  45. (2005). The Social Construction of Entrepreneurship: Narrative and doi
  46. (1959). The theory of the growth of the firm doi
  47. (2004). Towards a complexity science of entrepreneurship, doi
  48. (1993). Words lead to deeds - Towards an organizational emergence vocabulary, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.