9783642282058-c1 - Chapter 2 Entrepreneurship Defining Entrepreneurship The purpose of this chapter is to construct a working definition of

9783642282058-c1 - Chapter 2 Entrepreneurship Defining...

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Chapter 2 Entrepreneurship Defining Entrepreneurship The purpose of this chapter is to construct a working definition of entrepreneurship and research method suiting that definition. To accommodate the readers who are less familiar with recent academic discussions on entrepreneurship, we will start with a brief resume of those discussions, before moving on to our working defini- tion of entrepreneurship. The number of different definitions of entrepreneurship in recent academic publications is enormous. This diversity has not escaped the attention of the academics. A number of researchers have attempted to find the reasons behind this multitude of definitions. According to Davidson, there is a lack of common understanding of what entrepreneurship precisely is (Davidson 2004; Hill and Levenhagen 1995). Casson contends that most studies about entrepreneurship rely on stereotypes (Casson 1982). A look of a few concrete definitions of entrepreneurship from notable scholars of entrepreneurship will help getting an idea of the extent of the diversity. We will start with quoting two full definitions and then list a number of other influential researchers and what they consider to be the core issue of entrepreneurship: The field of entrepreneurship is defined as the scholarly examination of how, by whom, and with what effects opportunities to create future goods and services are discovered, evaluated and exploited. (Shane and Venkataraman 2000, p. 218) Entrepreneuring is the efforts to bring about new economic, social, institutional, and cultural environments through the actions of an individual or group of individuals. (Rindova et al. 2009, p. 477) P.J. Peverelli and J. Song, Chinese Entrepreneurship , DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-28206-5_2, # Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012 11
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Lumpkin and Dess (1996), Low and MacMillan (1988), Gartner (1988) New entry; the creation of new enterprises/ organizations Cole (1949) A purposeful activity to initiate, maintain and aggrandize a profit-oriented business Wiklund (1998) Taking advantage of opportunity by novel combinations of resources in ways which have impact on the market Stevenson and Jarillo (1990) The process by which individuals pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control These definitions have been selected, because they reflect a number of problems in defining entrepreneurship. The first definition uses the noun ‘entrepreneurship’, which evokes a perception of entrepreneurship as an entity, or a trait, while the second definition speaks of ‘entrepreneuring’, a verb, conveying a feeling of process. Weick has already pointed out that people tend to talk about organizations using nouns, and urges researchers to use more verbs, in particular gerunds (like Rindova et al. 2009), direct attention to the processes that construct organizations (Weick 1979, p. 44). Although semantically equivalent, the cognitive difference on the part of the reader between ‘the creation of X’ and ‘creating X’ is significant. The above table indicates that the trend in the recent academic study of entrepreneurship has been to abandon traits and focus on processes.
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