Title: Levels and degrees of emergence: toward a matrix of complexity in entrepreneurship

Authors: Benyamin B. Lichtenstein

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Abstract: Emergence is at the core of entrepreneurship research, which has explored the coming-into-being of opportunities, new organisations, re-organisations, and new industries, agglomerations, and so on. Emergence is also at the theoretical core of complexity science, which is dedicated to exploring how and why emergence happens in dynamic systems like entrepreneurship. I propose a definition for emergence, which leads to the notion that emergence can occur in |degrees| – from 1st-degree emergence to 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree emergence. Next, I provide a complexity-based explanation for the driver of emergence – |opportunity tension|, which sparks the entrepreneuring process. Finally, I draw from recent analyses of emergence to identify a process-theory of order creation, and show how this is driven or sparked by entrepreneuring. This leads to a matrix of emergence in entrepreneurship, which captures the degrees of emergence across the levels of entrepreneurial organising.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; emergence; dynamic systems; levels of analysis; opportunity tension; theory; entrepreneuring; start-ups; complexity science; entrepreneurial organising.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCLM.2011.042548

International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, 2011 Vol.1 No.3, pp.252 - 274

Published online: 22 Oct 2014 *

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