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Taught and enacted strategic approaches in young enterprises

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Abstract

The relevance of the planning approach for innovative and for young entrepreneurial firms had been subject to debate. It has been argued that planning dampens the realisation of entrepreneurial vision. This study examines the enacted strategy approaches of entrepreneurs who had studied on a Graduate Enterprise programme that aimed to help them to start a business. The approaches they used to strategy formation were compared to the planning approach that had been emphasised to them seven to 12 years earlier. Data were gathered through non-directive interviews, and were analysed using survey and case study methods. The formation of strategy by these entrepreneurs relied more on emergent than planning approaches, but some elements of the planning approach were strongly associated with growth. Some key resources were essential for the firms and their strategy formation processes. These were key personal relationships, with whom and through whom the entrepreneurs found ways of enacting their visions – the essence of their strategy process. Implications for curriculum and course development are given.

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