The power of information visualisation in holographic opportunity in driving entrepreneurial action

  • David Leong

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    While entrepreneurship, in general, has been extensively studied, the forces that trigger entrepreneurs to action remain a largely neglected area of study. Entrepreneurs are motivated to act by the appearance of opportunity and are energised to act as a result of what they think is a profitable venture. The notion of certain triggering forces instigated by the appearance of an opportunity adds a novel dimension to the research of entrepreneurial opportunity and action. The world is not what it seems to the entrepreneurs because behind the mental construct (through information visualisation) of what they think the opportunities may be, distinctively apparent at times, the grappling of opportunities can be elusive. This thesis argues that opportunity emerges from entanglement, and in that entanglement lies a potentiality that can be actualised through trials and iterative efforts. Potentialities are inherent in the entire physical situation and situationally dependent on the entanglement of the entrepreneur with the environment. Entrepreneurship is primarily uncertain when pursuing opportunities in entangled relations (with socio-material networks in the environment). Therefore, entrepreneurial outcomes are dependent on enabling conditions and agentic actions. Entrepreneurs struggle in the uncertainty to make sense of the world and respond to the pull of the opportunities that draw them in a particular direction. So, what is the driving force that eventually spurs entrepreneurs into action? This is the main research question in the thesis. This research proposes a theoretical framework and advances a theory of entanglement in entrepreneurship: (1) re-contextualising opportunity as a holographic artefact (information-laden) motivating action; (2) capturing the dynamics of convergence of the entrepreneur with the environment with opportunities as propensities emerging; (3) discussing how entrepreneurial action and enactment evolve through the stages in a process; and (4) exploring the driving forces (or information causality in opportunity triggering action) in entrepreneurship. This thesis expands on the discussion of propensity expounded by Ramoglou and Tsang and discusses probabilities, potentialities and propensities in opportunities using quantum references. This research develops a novel interpretation that conceptualises opportunities as propensities, which are discovered and socially constructed (holographically) through action under uncertainty. The thesis discusses how the holographic opportunity triggers entrepreneurial action with its stringed information. This dissertation, by published papers, builds a case of holographic opportunity in motivating and signalling entrepreneurial action. The uncertainty of the environment is mediated by information and sensemaking, resulting in how the opportunities are interpreted and enacted. The different actions and enactment strategies lead to varying uncertain outcomes. This dissertation addresses gaps in the definition of opportunity and how reality is observed. There is no reality without the observer’s terms and frames of reference, including the observation of opportunities. Observers’ effect has not been explored in entrepreneurial scholarship and extant literature, and it impacts the evolving state of opportunity. Opportunities are formed by components and entrepreneurs’ social construction. Each component (other involved agents or socio-material resources) relates and interacts to present the propensities in opportunities. The components’ interlacing, interrelational and interdependence are complex; the whole process is not understandable by examining individual components separately. Considered together, this thesis, with five published papers, contributes to a novel definition of entrepreneurial opportunities and action theories. The action theorisation examines the constituted forces that lead to entrepreneurial action by suggesting an operative mechanism, which includes a-rational, non-deliberative impulsivity and rational and calculative actions. In conclusion, this thesis has several significant theoretical, including practical implications and contributions. First, this thesis uses the propensity interpretation of probability to discuss uncertainty and opportunity emergence. Second, the entrepreneurial process is dynamically evolving with discontinuous information changes and with conscious entrepreneurial responses to it. This research suggests that this process is propelled by a holographic opportunity (laden with information) that draws entrepreneurs to action. Third, this thesis explores uncertainties in field-wide information flux, convergence and opportunity emergence. Fourth, it investigates the non-linearities and complexities in far-from-equilibrium market conditions (causing asymmetrical information) through illustrations, metaphors and analogies. Finally, the practical implications are significant. This thesis presents a perspective of a dynamically changing holographic opportunity (as against the discovery or creative approaches) and how an entrepreneur responds to such signals. An entrepreneurial venture is a gambit. The insights from the discussion provide a lens for entrepreneurs to view opportunistic advantages entailing degrees of risk. By understanding signals and cues from the entangled situation, entrepreneurs respond to capitalise on tensions and gaps existing in imperfect markets. Every entanglement (between entrepreneurs and the environment) presents certain propensities ripe for exploitation. The final act must come from the entrepreneurs’ determined efforts (with intention).
    Date of Award2023
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Carter (Supervisor), Abu Saleh (Supervisor) & Ben Freyens (Supervisor)

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