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Generative emergence: exploring the dynamics of innovation and change in high-potential start-up ventures

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-25, 16:21 authored by Claudine KearneyClaudine Kearney, Benyamin Lichtenstein
Start-up and early growth of new ventures is a complex process, filled with challenges and learning amidst continuous dynamic change. Understanding these dynamics is a critical goal for entrepreneurs and has been researched by entrepreneurship scholars using complexity sciences. Building on this literature, we explore the ‘dynamics of emergent change’ by interviewing 20 founders/CEOs of young, high-potential ventures in the Republic of Ireland to generate theory on how these dynamics are experienced throughout the start-up journey. Our findings suggest a set of process dynamics that are commonly experienced as instability, tension, non-linear change, unpredictability and surprise, as well as the outcome dynamics of emergent structures, ongoing creation of new knowledge and enhanced capabilities. These are experienced across every aspect of entrepreneurship, from within the specific innovation, through marketing, operations and finance. These findings contribute towards our understanding of how the entrepreneurs deal with these dynamics. Given the current success of their venture, we take their suggestions as an outline for ‘generative leadership’ – behavioural and strategic tools for enhanced venture growth and development.


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Published Citation

Kearney C, Lichtenstein B. Generative emergence: exploring the dynamics of innovation and change in high-potential start-up ventures. Brit J Manage. 2022;0:1–17

Publication Date

15 March 2022


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