The Project-based View of Entrepreneurship : Exploring the Project-based View and its Implications for Start- ups

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: This thesis explores the “project” in the entrepreneurial context, specifically the project- based view of start-ups. Start-ups are defined as entrepreneurial new ventures which have unstable business models, an open and simple organisational structure and which utilize innovative strategies for their development. The concept of temporary organisation is placed within the entrepreneurial context to define possible scenarios for the project-based view. The study is guided by the following research questions: How does a project-based view unfold in the start-up context? What is the impact of embracing a project-based view for a start-up? There is a limited number of studies elaborating on the link between project management and entrepreneurship. This study aims at contributing to an evolving body of knowledge integrating project management and entrepreneurship by building new theory regarding the application of the project metaphor by start-ups. Based on the existing research linking project management and entrepreneurship through the concept of the temporary organisation, this study explains the process of embracing a project- based view of start-ups as well as its implications on start-ups. These findings will be supported by the development of a visual model and propositions for further research. The study is using grounded theory as a research methodology which is considered to be appropriate given the nascent state of the previous research as well as the underlying research questions. In total eleven unstructured and semi-structured interviews were conducted with start-ups which comply with the synthesized start-up characteristics. The data analysis benefited from using open, axial and finally, selective coding as suggested by the grounded theory approach. Answering the first research question, the study’s findings are reflected in a model which explains how the project-based view unfolds. Overall, the process of a project- based view takes two directions: the external and the internal project-based view. The external project-based view - meaning that the whole start-up is seen as a temporary organisation - starts once the start-up team members decide to commit themselves to the project when the entrepreneurial opportunity is constructed. The start-up is then seen as being temporary due to external pressure and a bounded time period. However, although being temporary, the start-up still aims to transit to a permanent state. The internal project-based view suggests that the start-up’s strategy making process is followed by the strategy realization which is performed either by a sequence or by a multi-project approach, or a combination of both. Regarding the second research question, a project- based view enhances the start-ups’ operational and dynamic capabilities. 

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