Autonomy, proactiveness, and firm performance in the entrepreneurial small and medium-sized enterprises of the United States
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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How and in what situations do autonomy and proactiveness influence the financial performance of entrepreneurial small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)? This dissertation includes two studies to answer such inquiries by testing the research models with the approach of computer-aided text analysis. With the resource orchestration perspective and a configurational model, Study 1 examines whether the relationship between autonomy and firm performance depends on potential slack and environmental dynamism in a sample of 359 firm-year observations between 2009 and 2015. I theorized the alignment of autonomy, environmental dynamism, and potential slack results in superior firm performance. Study 2 looks at how proactiveness, acting as a mechanism of opportunity creation, interacts with market orientation to influence firm performance in a sample of 2,059 firm-year observations between 2009 and 2015. I theorized how the three sub-dimensions of market orientation respectively moderate the proactiveness-performance relationship to provide a more nuanced understanding of their effects. Findings suggested that autonomy has the most impact in situations of high environmental dynamism coupled with high potential slack, while proactiveness interacts with the competitor orientation dimension of market orientation to positively impact firm performance.