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date: 05 December 2022

Frugality in Emerging Organizations: A Psychological Perspective of Resourcefulness in Entrepreneurship Contextslocked

Frugality in Emerging Organizations: A Psychological Perspective of Resourcefulness in Entrepreneurship Contextslocked

  • Timothy L. Michaelis, Timothy L. MichaelisCollege of Business, Northern Illinois University
  • Jeffrey M. PollackJeffrey M. PollackPoole College of Management, North Carolina State University
  •  and Jon C. CarrJon C. CarrPoole College of Management, North Carolina State University


The act of being resourceful is a commonly displayed behavior in the process of entrepreneurship. For example, entrepreneurs are known to share resources with competitors, utilize their social networks to attract capital, exchange favors for resources, engage in resource bootstrapping behaviors, repurpose and/or recombine existing resources for new purposes (i.e., bricolage), and sometimes pivot from one opportunity to another following available resource options given current situational constraints (i.e., effectuation). Currently, research on the topic of resourcefulness in the entrepreneurship literature assumes these aforementioned resourceful behaviors are attributed to a limited resource environment rather than also originating from within the entrepreneur. Frugality is a new concept in the field of entrepreneurship that suggests entrepreneurs will also enact resourceful behaviors because of their own self-regulatory processes; that is, entrepreneurs will engage in resourcefulness behaviors as a preference rather than as a forced reaction to their external resource environment. Thus, frugality represents an individual-level antecedent of resourcefulness behaviors that is not bound to the conditions of necessity-based entrepreneurship. This is important as frugality opens the door for numerous future research directions in the context of both necessity-based and opportunity-based entrepreneurship. Frugality is defined as one’s general preference to (a) conserve resources and (b) apply an economic rationale in the acquisition of resources (i.e., assessing the opportunity cost of newly acquired resources). Research in the consumer behavior literature highlights that frugality is a culturally driven trait preference, whereby one is willing to sacrifice in the short term to achieve longer-term, idiosyncratic goals. Despite a large amount of research on frugal consumer behavior, there has yet to be a systematic inquiry into how frugality more broadly influences the process of new venture creation and organizations. Empirical research highlights that frugal entrepreneurs tend to engage in higher amounts of bricolage and effectuation, thus representing a promising new topic for better understanding the process of entrepreneurship. Although it is expected that future inquiry regarding frugality in entrepreneurship will naturally orient toward the topic of resourcefulness, it is also expected that frugality will relate to numerous other important topics such as entrepreneurial well-being, opportunity recognition, opportunity exploitation, and new venture growth. Considering the novelty of frugality in entrepreneurship, and management literature generally, it would benefit future research to systematically explore both the upsides and downsides to being frugal as it relates to value creation activities.


  • Entrepreneurship

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