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Contextualizing Entrepreneurship Theory

Authors:
  • Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick

Abstract

As the breadth and empirical diversity of entrepreneurship research have increased rapidly during the last decade, the quest to find a "one-size-fits-all" general theory of entrepreneurship has given way to a growing appreciation for the importance of contexts. This promises to improve both the practical relevance and the theoretical rigor of research in this field. Entrepreneurship means different things to different people at different times and in different places and both its causes and its consequences likewise vary. For example, for some people entrepreneurship can be a glorious path to emancipation, while for others it can represent the yoke tethering them to the burdens of overwork and drudgery. For some communities it can drive renaissance and vibrancy while for others it allows only bare survival. In this book, we assess and attempt to push forward contemporary conceptualizations of contexts that matter for entrepreneurship, pointing in particular to opportunities generating new insights by attending to contexts in novel or underexplored ways. This book shows that the ongoing contextualization of entrepreneurship research should not simply generate a proliferation of unique theories – one for every context – but can instead result in better theory construction, testing and understanding of boundary conditions, thereby leading us to richer and more profound understanding of entrepreneurship across its many forms. Contextualizing Entrepreneurship Theory will critically review the current debate and existing literature on contexts and entrepreneurship and use this to synthesize new theoretical and methodological frameworks that point to important directions for future research. Open Access Link: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/contextualizing-entrepreneurship-theory-ted-baker-friederike-welter/10.4324/9781351110631
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... Parkinson et al. (2017) rationalise that simply considering geographical place neglects numerous contextual factors within the exploration of entrepreneurship. Spatial and social contexts also contribute to a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and internationalisation opportunities beyond the physicality of the entrepreneur's business (Baker & Welter, 2020;. Welter (2011) incorporates four spatial and temporal dimensions (social, spatial, institutional, and business) that contribute to contextualisation as demarcated in Figure 7.1. ...
... The social contextual dimension involves the entrepreneurs' networks, household and family which shape the entrepreneur's actions, motivations and the type of support they leverage within their entrepreneurial activities (Welter, 2011;Baker & Welter, 2020). Social context incorporates the internal and external international networks of the entrepreneur and how they develop rapport with international partners or intermediaries (Jafari-Sadeghi et al., 2020), as social ties play a prominent role for women entrepreneurs (Welter, 2011). ...
... Lastly, the business context, the default context for entrepreneurship studies, concerns itself with the industry and market of the enterprise itself (Welter, 2011;Baker & Welter, 2020), such as the Turkish emerging market within which women successfully establish their enterprise, the type of market within which they identify an internationalisation opportunity and the type of industry their venture relates to. The national level of support for entrepreneurial activity since 2001 (Eroglu & Piçak, 2011) gratifes the business context of Turkey. ...
... However, the era of thinking about the entrepreneur as driven by internal, introspective characteristics, and traits is long gone. Moreover, those studies that explicitly engage with the concept of power tend to focus on how it shapes the social (e.g., Dey & Steyaert, 2016;Lähdesmäki et al., 2019) and economic context of entrepreneurs (Arshed et al., 2014;Welter, 2011;Welter & Baker, 2021). 1 Furthermore, there is an assertion power may be used against entrepreneurs by actors in an authoritative or privileged position (Baker & Welter, 2020), rather than how power can be used as a resource that actors can activate to shape entrepreneurial opportunities. Power has a transformative capacity (Campbell, 2009), and various forms of power can be utilized by a range of actors, including entrepreneurs. ...
... Unlike academic fields throughout management and the social sciences, entrepreneurship literature rarely makes power a focal lens. Studies that have investigated power more explicitly (e.g., Baker & Welter, 2020;Ramoglou et al., 2021) tend not to embrace the multifaceted nature of the concept. Building on Foucault (1978), who argued that power can come from everywhere, we have re-examined the extant entrepreneurship literature to detect and illustrate how different forms of power shape opportunities and the judgment about them. ...
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Entrepreneurship research has benefited from embracing three economic sociology lenses—networks, cognition, and institutions—but has treated power mainly implicitly. This paper pioneers how the concept of power can advance research into entrepreneurship. We illustrate how state actors, legacy firms, and entrepreneurs variously exert coercive, persuasive, and authoritative forms of power over entrepreneurial opportunities or exercise power to pursue them as free actors. We explicitly link context and opportunity-development processes through a power lens and show how power’s interaction-focused and episodic nature that can transcend geographical and institutional boundaries might enrich entrepreneurship research.
... Opportunity-driven entrepreneurship is associated with market conditions whose circumstances are rich in opportunities, and necessity-driven entrepreneurship prevails in circumstances that are poorer in opportunities (Baker & Welter 2020). Entrepreneurial activity that makes a difference in society is purpose driven (opportunity driven) (Bowmaker-Falconer & Herrington 2020). ...
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... Great part of small firms in developed and in developing economies are family businesses who should care of preparation of successors to take over and continue running the family businesses (Cesaroni & Sentuti, 2014). Small businesses generate over 50% of employment and GDP (Kuratko & Audretsch, 2021), thus 'discovering' the link in the 1980s actuated massive promotion of entrepreneurship (Baker & Welter, 2020). Even the 'panacea' for un-and underemployment is now disputed and more nuanced, supporting entrepreneurship is still important. ...
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This is an attempt to expand the scope of the personal branding discipline, introducing entrepreneurship as a career alternative to traditional employment. This may enrich the teaching approach, particularly via increasing non-formal education, resounding to modern trends, such as “everyday-everyone” entrepreneurship.
... We follow this broader idea of entrepreneurship, analyzing, discovering and establishing the acceptance of different forms of entrepreneurship due to different environments (e.g. Baker & Welter 2020;Wadhwani et al., 2020). We especially follow the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach (Feldman et al., 2019), because this considers entrepreneurial activity as a "social geographic phenomenon" (Sternberg, 2021, p. 8). ...
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Chapter
Drawing on personal observations and experiences during 2020, the author reflects on the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses for academic and researcher diversity as well as for which entrepreneurship research matters and how best to disseminate research results beyond academia. She discusses the multiple effects of the pandemic on the nature of entrepreneurship scholarship in general. The pandemic has a major impact on the career of women academics and early-career scholars, potentially threatening academic diversity if those effects are not just temporary but long-lasting. The pandemic also laid open again the differences between policymakers and academics in terms of what is considered interesting research. Entrepreneurship scholars were pushed towards more relevant research topics. At the same time, the rapid digitization of teaching, meetings and conferences offers opportunities for global and multidisciplinary collaborations that foster new insights into the challenges entrepreneurs and small business face, both for academia and for policymakers.KeywordsAcademic diversityPublic policyMultidisciplinary collaborationsEntrepreneursSmall businesses
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