A voluminous literature describes change in established organizations, but research investigating change in nascent firms, often called pivoting, is just emerging. Current research on pivoting raises questions about what it means for an entrepreneurial firm to pivot, what antecedents drive pivoting, the processes involved in pivoting, and the consequences of pivoting. A central challenge is that scholars have offered multiple pivot definitions that focus on various aspects of a venture that change during a pivot, (strategy, structure, overriding goals, resources, activities, and identity), making it difficult to identify distinctive characteristics of a pivot. Compounding this difficulty is the existence of numerous change-related constructs (e.g. strategic change, strategic reorientation, business model innovation) that share key characteristics with pivoting, making it difficult to distinguish pivoting as a distinct construct. With this multi-chapter dissertation, I tackle these conceptual challenges by first systematically reviewing the literature on pivoting and related constructs and analyzing key similarities and differences between pivot conceptualizations. In doing so, I have arrived at a consensus definition of pivoting that distinguishes it from other change-based constructs. I also compare this definition of pivoting with related constructs to uncover important similarities and differences between pivoting and other change related definitions. To more fully uncover the process of pivoting, I conduct a qualitative study by interviewing entrepreneurs to probe for information on the various elements of pivoting (antecedents, types of pivots, and consequences) and to assess different potential processes through which pivoting occurs. Overall, by linking this information together I provide clarity on how pivots differ from other change-related constructs and present an emergent theory of entrepreneurial pivoting.


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Graduation Date





Combs, James


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Management




CFE0009095; DP0026428





Release Date

February 2027

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until February 2027; it will then be open access.