Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Acting ingeniously

opportunity development through institutional work


This chapter proposes an integrated perspective on institutional work as ingenious actions of entrepreneurs for the purpose of opportunity development. Ingenuity refers to actions undertaken by entrepreneurs who work within ‘the institutional setting and uses this embeddedness by co-opting, coordinating, and whenever possible, drawing on organizational slack to effect change’ (Lampel et al., 2011: 715).

Ingenuity involves bringing together thinking and acting, individually and collectively, to take advantage of opportunities or to overcome problems. As such, ingenuity denotes the space between a challenge and a solution (Homer-Dixon, 2000). We present day-to-day actions of an ingenious entrepreneur who combines opportunity development and institutional work.

The concept of opportunity development is central in the study of entrepreneurship (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Recognizing opportunities, entrepreneurs develop initial ideas of new combinations of products, processes, markets and organizing to be offered to the market. Opportunity development requires the dynamic and interactive process to prepare a resource base and create an organizational structure for opportunity exploitation, and interactions with a diverse set of stakeholders in the institutional environment and understand their conflicting needs and motivations and to perceive possibilities resulting from these (Slotte-Kock and Coviello, 2010).

Reference Stam, A. M. C. E., Wakkee, I. A. M., & Groenewegen, P. (2014). Acting ingeniously: opportunity development through institutional work. In B. Honig, J. Lampel, & I. Drori (Eds.), Handbook of organizational and entrepreneurial ingenuity (pp. 223-253). Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781782549048.00018

Publication date

Jan 2014


A. M.C. Eveline Stam
Peter Groenewegen


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