Héctor Montiel-Campos, School of Business and Economics, Universidad de las Americas Puebla, Mexico, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


PURPOSE: In the last two decades, the concept of entrepreneurial alertness (EA) has been considered a key element in investigating how individuals recognize entrepreneurial opportunities. Consequently, research on entrepreneurial alertness has grown considerably, attracting researchers’ attention from not only the field of entrepreneurship, but also other academic disciplines through which this concept has been studied from a variety of perspectives. Therefore, it is time to document researchers’ cumulative knowledge on entrepreneurial alertness. The present study aims to provide a comprehensive qualitative review and evaluation of the empirical entrepreneurial alertness research. METHODOLOGY: Based on a multi-step approach used in previous studies, which guarantees a systematic, transparent, and replicable literature review, this study identified a final sample of 84 articles published in scientific journals between 2005 and 2021 that empirically tested the concept of EA. The publications were sourced from the Web of Science database. Their analysis involved the evolution of published articles, the journals that have published the most articles, the countries where the research was undertaken, the measurement scales that have been used, and the research models in which entrepreneurial alertness has been hypothesized and examined through empirical research. FINDINGS: The results show that empirical research on entrepreneurial alertness grew significantly from 2016 to 2021, during which period almost 11 articles per year were published. Seven of the journals that published the articles contributed 28 percent of the total publications. Also, the results confirm that most of the empirical research on alertness has been carried out in developing economies, from which China stands out with 14 publications, representing 16 percent of the total. Additionally, the results confirm the growing consensus regarding the conceptualization and measurement of entrepreneurial alertness. Finally, the review resulted in the identification of five broad research models in which EA has been hypothesized and examined through empirical research: antecedents, consequences, mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation. The model examining the consequences or outcomes of entrepreneurial alertness has received the most attention, with 59 articles in this context. IMPLICATIONS FOR THEORY AND PRACTICE: The identification of concepts and the type of relationship they have with entrepreneurial alertness help evaluate the advances of empirical research as well as the areas of opportunity. In this way, future studies can strengthen research and thus advance the general knowledge of alertness. The most studied topics are also a reflection of the contribution of entrepreneurial alertness toward practice, both at the individual and organizational levels. In addition, researchers interested in entrepreneurial alertness are encouraged to consider the progress made in the measurement of this aspect, which offers alternatives for investigation. ORIGINALITY AND VALUE: Based on the review of the literature, this study organizes the empirical research of entrepreneurial alertness in different research models, which provide important insights into its process. Moreover, this study uncovers potential areas to be addressed and thereby contributes to the study of entrepreneurial alertness.

Keywords: entrepreneurial alertness, systematic literature review, entrepreneurial opportunity, research models, opportunity recognition, alertness, entrepreneurship