Developing methods to study the emergence of entrepreneurship

Aarni Moisala

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


In the field of entrepreneurial behavior research, there is a growing need to find new methods to study entrepreneurial orientations, intentions, and opportunity processes from the point of view of emergence. My contribution to this need is in terms of the methods and techniques innovated. For individual-level entrepreneurial orientations, I have developed a theoretical model and a quantitative self-assessment tool derived from the literature concerning innovative market-entry strategies. Second, I have used documentary videography and montage editing methods to establish the kind of opportunity processes that entrepreneurs go through and explicated three different emergence processes. Third, I have developed a technique that allows researchers to divide entrepreneurial life stories into relevant sequences and explain the interdependencies and meanings of these sequences for early-age intentional behavior. Fourthly, I have also studied pre-intention with a dualistic intention–action method that has been previously used in the context of live-theater actor training. These qualitative methods aim to investigate emerging special cases or anomalies as personal narratives of experience. Empirically speaking, I have investigated the entrepreneurial orientations of 418 college students and examined the life stories of four extraordinary, innovative Finnish entrepreneurs with the aim of acquiring an in-depth understanding of an entrepreneur's early-age pre-intentions and the emergence of growth intentions. I have also made a live-theatre play about the Finnish entrepreneur Toivo Sukari. On a larger scale, I bring up potential collaborative intersections between scientific and artistic research. The methodological implications for entrepreneurial behavior research are numerous. Firstly, regarding the emergence of entrepreneurial orientations, intentions, and opportunity processes, as described in this dissertation, researchers may use the same methods when investigating how pre-intentions or pre-ideas emerge from a personal childhood narrative of experiences. Secondly, based on my findings, both scientific and artistic researchers may find more common ground for further collaborative research projects by sequencing the research process into analytic and innovative stages and using the presented methods accordingly. Thirdly, my main practical contribution is providing scientific communities, educational institutions, and individuals with the ability to analyze entrepreneurial orientations, intentions, and opportunity processes with the proposed methods, either retrospectively or ad hoc as they evolve in everyday life.
Translated title of the contributionMenetelmiä yrittäjyysintention syntymisen tutkimiseksi
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Kautonen, Teemu, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8329-2
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8330-8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • methods
  • entrepreneurship
  • intention
  • anomalies


Dive into the research topics of 'Developing methods to study the emergence of entrepreneurship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this