In an attempt at a systematic theory of entrepreneurship, this paper connects various literatures, from economics and business. In economics, there are many notions of entrepreneurship, some of which seem to contradict each other. For example, there are notions of entrepreneurship as an equilibrating and as a disequilibrating force. In this paper, these differences are connected with the issue of exploitation and exploration from the business literature. The question is how one can explore while maintaining exploitation. For this, a cycle of discovery has been proposed, with stages of equilibration and disequilibration which build on each other, in process where exploitation leads to exploration. It is proposed that different notions of entrepreneurship can be associated with different stages of that cycle. In this way, different types of entrepreneurship complement each other in an ongoing process of discovery.

discovery, entrepreneurship, innovation, organizational learning
Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior (jel L2), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Business Administration: General (jel M10)
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Nooteboom, B. (2003). Stages Of Discovery And Entrepreneurship (No. ERS-2003-028-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from