Abstract: High-tech startups are the most active part in promoting the growth of new drivers. The survival and growth process of high-tech startups is the process of opportunity shaping, which is characterized by high innovation and high complexity. In the contexts of China emerging economies, which are characterized by high uncertainty, the uncertainty of opportunity shaping by high-tech startups with limited resources and management capacity is further increased, and the traditional forecation-oriented decision-making logic is difficult to play an effective role. In recent years, a large number of entrepreneurship research have proved that in highly uncertain contexts, entrepreneurs follow the effectuation to make decision. The effectuation theory is action-oriented. It describes how to think, make decisions and practice under uncertainty, including a series of principles such as flexibility, affordable loss, previous commitment and experiment. At present，the effectuation theory has attracted the attention of scholars in the field of entrepreneurship. However, the researchers have not explained and answered the effect of entrepreneurs′ effectuation on the opportunity shaping of high-tech startups, as well as the internal mechanism. Therefore, based on the upper echelons theory, this study discussed the influence of entrepreneurs′ effectuation on organizational opportunity shaping from the perspective of entrepreneurs, as well as the mediating effect of organizational network construction and the regulating effect of entrepreneurs′ entrepreneurial passion.
On the basis of summarizing the existing research, research models are constructed and research hypotheses are proposed. This study collected data from Shanghai and Jilin in the form of questionnaires. According to the calculation of the China Entrepreneurship Activity Index (CPEA) in the Global Entrepreneurship Observation Report, Shanghai is one of the cities with the highest degree of entrepreneurial activity, while entrepreneurial activities in Jilin are not active. This shows that there is a big difference in the degree of entrepreneurial activity between the two cities. The questionnaire requires entrepreneurs or middle-level and senior managers who have a comprehensive understanding of the actual situation of the company to fill in. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed and 141 valid questionnaires were collected.All the items were measured using five-point Likert scales ranging from 1 to 5. 1 represented a strong disagreement， and the 5 represented a complete agreement. In this paper, Harmon single factor analysis was adopted, and the common method variation problem can be ignored．
Before data analysis, the reliability of the variables was tested using cronbach′s coefficient, and confirmatory factor analysis in the structural equation model was used to test the scale′s structural validity. The test results show that the scale of all the variables have good reliability and discriminative validity. Correlation analysis also shows that there is a strong correlation among the variables in this study. Then SPSS was used to test the research hypothesis, and the conclusions showed that: (1) entrepreneurs′ effectuation has a positive impact on organizational network construction and organizational opportunity shaping. (2) Organizational network construction plays an mediating role in the relationship between entrepreneurs′ effectuation and organizational opportunity shaping. (3) The higher the entrepreneurs′ entrepreneurial passion, the stronger the relationship between entrepreneurs′ effectuation and organizational network construction; the stronger the relationship between entrepreneurs′ effectuation and organizational opportunity shaping.
The theoretical enlightenment of this article is as follows. First, it expands the research on the influencing factors of organizational opportunity shaping. Second, it expands the research on organizational network construction，and enriches the research on the effect of entrepreneurs′ cognitive factors on organizational network construction. In addition, it has enriches the research on the causes and consequences of organizational network construction, and has also made a useful supplement to the internal mechanism of entrpreneurs′ effectuation and organizational opportunity shaping. Third, it expands the research on the interaction between cognition and emotion in the entrepreneurial field, responding to the call of previous scholars to explore the moderating effects of more different variables on the relationship between entrepreneurial characteristics and organizational outputs.
This research provides some inspiration for the practice of high-tech startups. First, the conclusions provide guidances for entrepreneurs. In highly uncertain environments, entrepreneurs should use effectuation to promote opportunities shaping. Second, the conclusions provide advice to policy makers. The government can set up relevant courses or training programs for entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial incubators to help them improve the effectuation and entrepreneurial passion. At the same time, the government can actively organize more activities for entrepreneurs, so as to provide more opportunities to help them construct network. Third, the conclusions provide decision-making guidance for investors. Entrepreneurial passion or effectuation can be used as an indicator to evaluate the development potential of high-tech startups and provide a reference for investment decisions.
This study also has some limitations. First, this study uses cross-sectional data to analyze the static relationship among the variables, and insufficiently examines the longitudinal relationship among the variables. Therefore, a longitudinal case study method is needed to capture the dynamic relationship among various variables in the future. Second, this study only considers the moderating effect of entrepreneurial passion in the relationship between entrepreneurs′ effectuation and organizational network construction from the perspective of entrepreneurs′ characteristics. Future research can investigate the influence of other contextual factors to continuously enrich the research related to boundaries of organizational network construction and opportunity shaping. Third, the measurement of effectuation needs to be improved. Future research can add measurement items through case interviews and other methods, continuously refine and improve the effectuation scale, and improve measurement accuracy.
Key words: effectuation, network construction, opportunity shaping, entrepreneurs′ passion, high-tech startups