What Triggers Entrepreneurship? The Necessity/Opportunity dichotomy: a retrospection

Yohannes Workeaferahu Elifneh


Purpose – This  study is inspired by one of the current debates in the field  of  entrepreneurship, which is also  highlighted by  the research themes of the 6th  Executive Idea Exchange Forum of   the Department of Management, Addis Ababa University: “ is entrepreneurship an issue of  self employment or innovation?” and as a retrospection, this theoretical research reviews  entrepreneurship literature to uncover what is  known, discussed and argued with respect to this particular theme by focusing on the necessity and opportunity driven entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach– The study draws upon earlier research undertaken by various authors on the subject of entrepreneurship, mainly on necessity vs. opportunity entrepreneurship. The manuscript is an attempt to provide a better understanding on the differences between necessity entrepreneurship and opportunity entrepreneurship based on literature review.

Finding- Literature indicates that there has been a semantic shift towards the terms necessity entrepreneurship and opportunity entrepreneurship in recent studies that focus on decisional factors of entrepreneurship.  The necessity vs opportunity entrepreneurship classification is made mainly based on distinguishing between entrepreneurs motivated by economic needs and those driven by a desire for self-realization respectively. The necessity-driven entrepreneurs are pushed into entrepreneurship because all other options for work are absent or unsatisfactory. Whereas, opportunity driven entrepreneurs are attracted to the world of entrepreneurship mostly out of choice to exploit some business opportunity

Research limitations/implications- The study is limited to the author's ability to review literatures in the field of entrepreneurship, mainly on topics that look at necessity vs. opportunity dichotomy as the motivation to entrepreneurship as well as relevant ideas that relate to this dichotomy such as entrepreneurial framework conditions are also incorporated

Practical implications- The paper would possibly provide insights about the motivation for entrepreneurship and provide concerned parties with necessary information to better understand the motivation for entrepreneurship and the conditions that affect the motivation.  This paper would shed light for further context specific studies on entrepreneurship that are  particularly related to  the triggers of  entrepreneurship such as  in the Ethiopian context  from the view point of necessity driven and opportunity driven entrepreneurship.

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