The term “entrepreneurial orientation” has been used to refer to the strategy making processes and styles of firms that engage in entrepreneurial activities. A popular model of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) suggests that there are five dimensions of EO—autonomy, innovativeness, risk taking, proactiveness, and competitive aggressiveness (Lumpkin and Dess 1996). This paper reports on two of those dimensions—proactiveness and competitive aggressiveness. Proactiveness refers to how firms relate to market opportunities by seizing initiative in the marketplace; competitive aggressiveness refers to how firms react to competitive trends and demands that already exist in the marketplace. Despite these distinctions, prior research has tended to equate these two concepts and argued that they have a similar effect on firm performance. This paper investigates how these two approaches are related to each other, how they are related to performance, and how their function differs in the environments in which firms exhibit these approaches to strategy making. These distinctions are important because proactiveness and competitive aggressiveness represent distinctly different avenues to entrepreneurial success.


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