Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Entrepreneurship, PhD

Committee Chair

Fiet, James O.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Garrett, Robert P.

Committee Member

Garrett, Robert P.

Committee Member

Manikas, Andrew

Committee Member

Guan, Jeff

Author's Keywords

entrepreneurship; Schumpeter; Hammer; Kirzner; IPO; venture


Current entrepreneurship research focuses on two types of entrepreneurial firms: (1) the firms that develop innovative novel products or services arising from technological innovation; and (2) the firms that develop innovative novel products or services arising from recognition of an opportunity in existing conditions, no type of change required. A third type of business founder has been largely ignored in the modern entrepreneurship research - - the founder who enters a competitive market with no novel product or service that he or she invented. I refer to this founder in a competitive market as a performance entrepreneur. This dissertation presents theory to argue that there are high growth opportunities in certain competitive markets and analyzes the prevalence of performance entrepreneurs among US IPO firms. Of particular interest is the performance entrepreneur who enters a new competitive market recently enabled by new technology. I present theoretical arguments (under a resource based view(RBV)) that the majority of high growth firms are performance entrepreneurship firms, not firms with innovative new products. Joseph Schumpeter opined in 1942 that technological advances were becoming too complex for entrepreneurial firms. Michael Hammer opined through the 1990s and early 2000’s that many business opportunities would arise through efficiency as a result of technological changes. I utilize these opinions and theories to advance my theory. In a stratified research effort, I reviewed SEC filings of over 500 firms that went through IPOs in the 1995-2015 period. IPO firms are firms very successful firms that have achieved high growth and are generally considered to be at the pinnacle of entrepreneurship. My interest is the business ventures pursued by successful firms. The research showed that over 80% of these firms were performance entrepreneurship firms, not firms that had developed high technology products or services. This research is important because it shines a light on an important group of entrepreneurs who have been largely ignored in the modern entrepreneurship, even though they figured prominently in the traditional entrepreneurship.