A simple explanation of how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

How limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

The strategies entrepreneurs develop to handle limitations such as resource constraint require that, they are alert about the available resources, and see the possibility of addressing problems (or needs) using the available resources.

Limitations can be caused by resource constraints or unforeseen circumstances, and will require that entrepreneurs develop strategies, and take action to overcome such limitations.

Therefore, this article provides a simple explanation of how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ behaviour.

What is the difference between entrepreneurs’ creativity and entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour?

entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

Entrepreneurs’ creativity is a similar concept to entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour. Entrepreneurs’ creativity is outcome-centric, it explains how entrepreneurs produce novel and useful ideas. Entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour relates to what entrepreneurs do to achieve such outcomes

How limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

Research has shown that entrepreneurs react to resource constraints differently, in terms of how they interpret resource limitations, and the actions they take to survive, grow, and sustain their businesses.

Being proactive and hands-on are some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

During the venture creation process for example, the entrepreneur decides to take action, to exploit an opportunity; having discovered a solution to an identified problem.

Resources are needed to develop products or services, to exploit the identified opportunity, and make profits, as a result of taking action.

However, resource constraints impose limitations. The entrepreneur needs to make creative adjustments, and develop strategies to help them deal with these limitations.

While non-entrepreneurs may give up, entrepreneurs will not take no for an answer.

Despite the fact that the resources needed to exploit the opportunity may not be available, the entrepreneur begins to look for ways to help establish a business that will develop and deliver the novel ideas, and solutions to the problem (or need).

Therefore, venture creation process is about decision-making and taking action, under uncertain or ambiguous circumstances.

It involves making decisions, choices and improvisations and eventually “creating something from nothing”.

Bricolage – a simple explanation of how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

Bricolage theory provides a simple explanation for how entrepreneurs create something from nothing.

The theory explains how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour.

It clarifies how entrepreneurs explore and adapt to resource limitations for the purpose of producing novel and useful outcomes.

Unlike non-entrepreneurs who may give up due to resource limitations, entrepreneurs will create something from a variety of already existing things.

They do this by being creative – reusing, combining, and making do with what already exist, to create new opportunities, businesses, and products or services.

What “already exist” could be physical artefacts, skills, or ideas that are accumulated because they may “come in handy”.

The entrepreneur is compared to a “bricoleur”, someone who makes use of the materials or tools at hand to achieve their goals. Like the bricoleur, the entrepreneur applies combinations of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities.

Some basic assumptions of bricolage:
  • Entrepreneurs confront situations of significant resource constraint.
  • Entrepreneurs have access to some resources on hand that can be used to “make do.”
  • Entrepreneurs react to resource constraints differently, and this influences their behaviour and outcomes.

Summary of how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour

Four explanations of how limitations influence entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour are:

First is that entrepreneurs make do with what they have by creating something out of nothing.

The second explanation is that the ability to create something out of what already exist shows entrepreneurs’ creative behaviour – how entrepreneurs act differently to resource limitations.

Third explanation is that entrepreneurs take actions such as:

  • applying combinations of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities.
  • rearranging existing features of an experience into something new.

The fourth explanation is that entrepreneurs’ ability to create something new out existing things leads to frugal innovation.

Further Readings

Stinchfield, B. T., Nelson, R. E., & Wood, M. S. (2013). Learning from Levi–Strauss’ Legacy: Art, Craft, Engineering, Bricolage, and Brokerage in Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(4), 889–921. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00523.x

Fisher, G. (2012). Effectuation, Causation, and Bricolage: A Behavioral Comparison of Emerging Theories in Entrepreneurship Research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(5), 1019–1051. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00537.x

Mishra, O. (2021) Design Thinking and Bricolage for Frugal Innovations during Crisis. https://doi.org/10.24840/2183-0606_009.003_0002

Mofoluke Akiode