Sidney Winter has had an outstanding impact on entrepreneurship research throughout his career, with three distinct contributions. The first contribution is to understand technical change within firms, as related to organizational routines and renewal. This conceptualization of evolutionary economics was done jointly with Richard R. Nelson. Their work makes a major contribution in providing a framework for Schumpeterian processes of how and why entrepreneurial firms may compete with incumbents, as well as the creation of opportunities through endogenous processes driven by the dynamics of economic competition.
The second contribution is to analyze empirically and theoretically how and why appropriability conditions, and thereby technological opportunities, differ by industry. Winter’s work with colleagues helped to develop the concept of technological opportunities, focusing upon the differences between industries, upon appropriability regimes and upon the role of knowledge external to the firms, including universities, in stimulating innovations.
The third contribution is Winter’s recent work defining how firms develop dynamic capabilities. This contribution, when set in relation to debates about routines, learning and managerial choice, provides a deeper understanding of dynamic capabilities not only in large firms but also in entrepreneurial firms. Winter has worked with many colleagues in forming these contributions, and he has also taken an active role in shaping the international scholarly community, through contributions such as journal editorships, PhD training, and public policy. His work has impacted our understanding of the phenomena of entrepreneurship, through these three contributions. Winter’s work has had a significant impact on many disciplines, including dedicated entrepreneurship research, management, economics as well as technology and innovation management.