Entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance: the mediating role of generative and acquisitive learning through customer relationships

  • Vishal K. GuptaEmail author
  • Suman Niranjan
  • Erik Markin
Original Paper


The concept of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) attracts much discussion and debate in the academic literature. As knowledge about EO has expanded, increased consideration is being given to the causal processes linking EO with superior firm performance. Building on the growing body of research on learning through interorganizational relationships, we introduce acquisitive learning and generative learning through key customer relationships as distinct conduits for the translation of EO into performance effectiveness. The research model is empirically examined using structural equation modeling on data obtained from small-and-medium sized high-technology firms in the United States. Findings indicate that EO boosts generative and acquisitive learning through customer relationships, and both generative and acquisitive learning have significant positive impact on firm performance. Notably, although generative learning and acquisitive learning through customer relationships act as mediators of the EO-performance link, the mediating effect through generative learning is significantly stronger than through acquisitive learning. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Entrepreneurial orientation Inter-organizational learning Customer relationships Mediation High technology 

JEL Classification

D83 L14 L26 



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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Savannah State UniversitySavannahUSA
  3. 3.Mississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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