A Systematic Mapping Review and analysis of cognitive science in Opportunity Identification Literature: 1994-2018

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Tehran University

2 Professor, University of Tehran,

3 assistant professor

4 university of Tehran


The purpose of this systematic mapping review is to map out and categorize existing literature of the entrepreneurial opportunity recognition, and to identify the research gap in this field. Since the research questions seek to provide an overview of the opportunity identification process (OIP) literature at a higher level of granularity, the Systematic Mapping Review has been selected as the research method. 71 articles published during 1994-2018 in 19 academic journals were selected, analyzed, and classified concerning research focus (two main sections of antecedents and mechanisms), research type (conceptual-qualitative, conceptual-quantitative, empirical-quantitative, and empirical-qualitative), research method and data source. The results show that despite the growing popularity of opportunity literature in recent years, the fragmented nature of OIP publications among all journals is worrying. Also, analysis of articles revealed an increased propensity for antecedents-focus researches, while mechanisms-focus studies predominantly affect the OIP literature. Given the heterogeneous nature of how opportunities are identified, a need to integrate and test multiple theories arise. Moreover, from the methodological view, the young discipline of OIP research has a substantial scientific gap and suffers from a lack of empirical and exploratory studies. This study addresses the recent patterns, developments, and gaps by proposes a research agenda around topics and methods, intending to help entrepreneurs and researchers develop more effective practices.


صوفیه، جمال؛ حسینی‌نیا، غلامحسین؛ مبینی دهکردی، علی. (1397). تحلیلِ محتوای وضع موجود روش شناسی پژوهش های منتشرشده در مجله های برتر حوزه‌ی فرصت های کارآفرینانه، 11(4): 660-641.
ولی‌نفس، عبدالعزیز؛ قاضی، عیسی. (1395). تشخیص فرصت‌های کارآفرینانه. مطالعات مدیریت و کارآفرینی، سال دوم، شماره 2(1): 131-141.
Ardichvili, A., Cardozo, R., and Ray, S. (2003). A theory of entrepreneurial opportunity identification and development. Business Venturing, 18(1), 105-123.
Baron, R. A. (2004). The cognitive perspective: a valuable tool for answering entrepreneurship's basic “why” questions. Business venturing, 19(2), 221-239.
*Baron, R. A. (2006). Opportunity recognition as pattern recognition: How entrepreneurs “connect the dots” to identify new business opportunities. Academy of Management Perspectives, 20(1), 104-119.
*Baron, R. A. (2007). Behavioral and cognitive factors in entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs as the active element in new venture creation. Strategic Entrepreneurship, 1(1‐2), 167-182.
*Bhava, N., Gupta, V. K., & Jain, T. K. (2006). The entrepreneurship of the good samaritan: a development framework to understand social entrepreneurship using insights form a qualitative study. In Babson Research Conference, Madrid.
Brockner, J., Higgins, E. T., & Low, M. B. (2004). Regulatory focus theory and the entrepreneurial process. Business venturing, 19(2), 203-220.
Busenitz, L. W., & Barney, J. B. (1997). Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making. Business venturing, 12(1), 9-30.
Companys, Y. E., & McMullen, J. S. (2007). Strategic entrepreneurs at work: The nature, discovery, and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. Small Business Economics, 28(4), 301-322.
DeTienne, D. R., & Chandler, G. N. (2007). The role of gender in opportunity identification. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31(3), 365-386.
*Dimov, D. (2007). From opportunity insight to opportunity intention: The importance of person-situation learning match. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31(4), 561-583.
Eckhardt, J. T., and Shane, S. A. (2003). Opportunities and entrepreneurship. Management, 29(3), 333-349.
Gaglio, C. M. (2004). The role of mental simulations and counterfactual thinking in the opportunity identification process. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(6), 533-552.
George, N. M., Parida, V., Lahti, T., and Wincent, J. (2016). A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: Insights on influencing factors. International Entrepreneurship and Management, 12(2), 309-350.
Goss, D., and Sadler‐Smith, E. (2018). "Opportunity creation: Entrepreneurial agency, interaction, and affect." Strategic Entrepreneurship 12 (2), 219-236.
Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health information & libraries26(2), 91-108.
Grégoire, D. A., Binder, J. K., & Rauch, A. (2019). Navigating the validity tradeoffs of entrepreneurship research experiments: A systematic review and best-practice suggestions. Business Venturing, 34(2), 284-310.
Hansen, D. J., Shrader, R., & Monllor, J. (2011). Defragmenting definitions of entrepreneurial opportunity. Small Business Management, 49(2), 283-304.
Harrison, R. T., Mason, C., & Smith, D. (2015). Heuristics, learning and the business angel investment decision-making process. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development27(9-10), 527-554.
Hayton, J. C., & Cholakova, M. (2012). The role of affect in the creation and intentional pursuit of entrepreneurial ideas. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(1), 41-67.
Heidari, A., Yazdani, H. R., Saghafi, F., & Jalilvand, M. R. (2018). The perspective of religious and spiritual tourism research: a systematic mapping study. Islamic Marketing, 9(4), 748-797.
Kirzner, I. M. (1973). Competition and entrepreneurship. University of Chicago press.
Krueger, N. F. (2003). The cognitive psychology of entrepreneurship. In Handbook of entrepreneurship research,105-140. Springer, Boston, MA.
Long, H. A., French, D. P., & Brooks, J. M. (2020). Optimising the value of the critical appraisal skills programme (CASP) tool for quality appraisal in qualitative evidence synthesis. Research Methods in Medicine & Health Sciences, 1(1), 31-42.
Lumpkin, G., and Lichtenstein, B. (2005). The role of organizational learning in the opportunity–recognition process. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(4), 451-472.
Nakata, C., & Huang, Y. (2005). Progress and promise: the last decade of international marketing research. Business Research58(5), 611-618.
Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Harvard Studies, 46.
Shane, S., and Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 25(1), 217-226.
Shane, S. A. (2003). A general theory of entrepreneurship: The individual-opportunity nexus. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Shepherd, D. A., & DeTienne, D (2005). Prior knowledge, potential financial reward, and opportunity identification. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(1), 91-112.
Short, J. C., Ketchen Jr, D. J., Shook, C. L., and Ireland, R. D. (2010). The concept of “opportunity” in entrepreneurship research: Past accomplishments and future challenges. Management, 36(1), 40-65.
Singh, J. (2013). Critical appraisal skills programme. pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, 4(1), 76-90.
Tang, J., Kacmar, K. M. M., & Busenitz, L. (2012). Entrepreneurial alertness in the pursuit of new opportunities. Business Venturing, 27(1), 77-94.
Tumasjan, A., & Braun, R. (2012). In the eye of the beholder: How regulatory focus and self-efficacy interact in influencing opportunity recognition. Business Venturing, 27(6), 622-636.