By combining literature on Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO), corporate strategy, and social network analysis, while building on the Resource Based View and Resource Dependence Theory, this dissertation advances knowledge for theory and practice regarding the strategic positioning of large, entrepreneurial firms. It examines how EO influences firm performance, how it acts as a capability to manage diverse information, and how EO by itself can be positively influenced.
This thesis argues that EO is a disposition and that even firms with a high degree of EO need to act in the market to achieve success. In particular, it demonstrates that large entrepreneurial firms should follow a differentiation strategy and keep financial slack available in order to allow them to quickly exploit opportunities and thereby increase firm performance. As entrepreneurial firms are resource dependent and need partners in their interorganizational environment to overcome this dependence and become more entrepreneurial, firms should assume either a central position in their alliance network or bridge structural holes between diverse partner firms, while avoiding dense networks in order to participate in beneficial information and resource flows. The breadth of information and resources is increased when alliance partners are more diverse. Especially structural holes seem beneficial for firm performance, in particular in the case of diverse alliance partners. It is shown that due to the complexity inherent in the management of diverse information, especially firms which possess the capability EO are able to derive additional value from assuming a position at a structural hole between diverse partners.
Results are derived based on a large panel data set based on secondary data from 2006 to 2011.
The thesis thus extends research of several streams of entrepreneurship and alliance research for large firms and offers suggestions for the dissolution of currently existing conflicting results. Furthermore, it translates theoretically derived results into action-oriented recommendations for management.