Resolving the commitment-flexibility dilemna in new technology ventures


International Journal of Innovation Management

1er août 2017, vol. 21, n°6 - 1750047, pp.1-18

Départements : Information Systems and Operations Management, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Uncertainty; flexibility; commitment; new venture project; trial and error; stakeholders

In their attempt to define radically new product–market pairs, according to the literature, new technology ventures (NTV) are confronted with an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, they should delay key commitments to remain flexible in the face of high uncertainty. On the other hand, commitments are necessary to enable learning and progress. Based on the longitudinal study of four NTVs, we find that the entrepreneurs resolve this dilemma by (i) defining their product and market progressively through iteration and learning, and by (ii) basing this progressive definition on stakeholders’ commitments. We analyse this approach and label it “commit and learn”. Following an inductive methodology, we suggest a conceptual framework to enhance the understanding of commitment as a multi-dimensional concept for new ventures