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30 September 2020
Special Issue Editor(s)
Copenhagen Business School and University of Southern California
William B. Gartner,
University of California Santa Barbara
R. Daniel Wadhwani,
University of Southern California and CBS
Entrepreneurship and Transformations
Research on entrepreneurship has flourished in recent years, and the public interest in it has arguably never been greater. Few would disagree that entrepreneurship is one of the primary drivers of industry dynamics, economic and societal change, and innovation. However, the rapidly growing field of entrepreneurship studies has not displayed great strength in capturing dynamics and evolutions over time, partly due to a lack of historical empirical work of the sort that Schumpeter (1939) has already called for several decades ago. This special issue sets out to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars analyzing the links between entrepreneurship and (societal and market) transformations.
The Special Issue “Entrepreneurship and Transformations” takes its starting point in the critique that the field of entrepreneurship studies suffers from a fixation on the micro-processes governing the interaction of individuals and opportunities (Shane 2003), while largely ignoring the macro-dynamics of which entrepreneurship is part. It builds on the growing interdisciplinary dialogue between history and entrepreneurship studies (Wadhwani and Jones 2014, Perchard, MacKenzie et al. 2017, Wadhwani, Kirsch et al. 2020 pre-published online) that has triggered much needed methodological and theoretical reflections on historical entrepreneurship research.
The editors of this SI give an overview of this field of study in their annotated bibliography and encourage authors to engage with (a sub-set of) this literature. In particular, they welcome contributions that build on these insights to empirically explore the links between entrepreneurship and (societal and market) transformations over time. We see a research opportunity for scholars who use historical methods and sources to explore
- opportunity recognition and opportunity exploitation as a long-term process. Artur Cole (1959), for example, introduced the idea of an “entrepreneurial stream”—a metaphor highlighting that entrepreneurial opportunities often unfold over long period of time, with one opportunity building on previous ones. These long-term developments easily become hidden if we focus too closely on one individual or one company; however, the question how new opportunities emerge from existing ones, and how (experiential and codified) knowledge travels between individuals and institutions is of great importance for understanding the entrepreneurial process in and between companies (Galambos and Amatori 2016).
- the interactions between entrepreneurship and the cultural and socioeconomic environment they are embedded in (Welter and Gartner 2016, Baker and Welter 2018). So far, scholarly approaches to contextualizing entrepreneurship have varied widely. One set of work, drawing on institutional theory and following Baumol (1990), have interpreted contexts as a source of constraints and incentives on entrepreneurial behavior. A second approach, drawing on social movement and social group research, have approached contextualization as a matter of “embedding” entrepreneurial processes within social groups, movements, and networks (Hiatt, Sine et al. 2009). A third approach, drawing on a social constructivist view of contexts, examines how entrepreneurial actors shape and even create the contexts for their actions (Jones and Pitelis 2015). Historical research, particularly work that takes a comparative or international perspective, has long emphasized the role of context in shaping the very definition of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial processes. But how exactly does historical work lead us to reconsider and rethink the conceptualization of context? How can context be operationalized and studied using a historical lens? We believe that non-Western contexts and “deep histories”, in particular, can help us question and revise some of the taken-for-granted assumptions around entrepreneurship and context.
- Finally, we specifically encourage interdisciplinary collaborations between historians and scholars from other disciplines that significantly advance our understanding of entrepreneurship and market transformations and develop approaches that are useful to scholars exploring entrepreneurship historically.
- Baker, T. and F. Welter (2018). "Contextual Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary Perspective." Foundations and Trends®in Entrepreneurship 14(4): 357-426.
- Baumol, W. J. (1990). "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive." Journal of Political Economy 98(5): 893-921.
Cole, A. (1959). Business Enterprise in its Social Setting. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
- Galambos, L. and F. Amatori (2016). "The Entrepreneurial Multiplier." Enterprise & Society 17(4): 763-808.
- Hiatt, S. R., W. D. Sine and P. S. Tolbert (2009). "From Pabst to Pepsi: The Deinstitutionalization of Social Practices and the Creation of Entrepreneurial Opportunities." Administrative Science Quarterly 54(4): 635-667.
- Jones, G. and C. Pitelis (2015). "Entrepreneurial Imagination and a Demand and Supply-Side Perspective on MNE and Cross-Border Organisation." Journal of International Management 21(4): 309-321.
- Perchard, A., N. G. MacKenzie, S. Decker and G. Favero (2017). "Clio in the Business School: Historical Approaches in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship." Business History: 1-24.
- Schumpeter, J. A. (1939). Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process, Vol. I. New York and London, McGraw-Hill.
- Shane, S. (2003). A General Theory of Entrepreneurship:The Individual–Opportunity Nexus. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.
- Wadhwani, D. R., D. Kirsch, F. Welter, W. B. Gartner and G. Jones (2020 pre-published online). "Context, Time, and Change: Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Research." Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.
- Wadhwani, R. D. and G. Jones (2014). Schumpeter's Plea: Historical Reasoning in Entrepreneurship Theory and Research. Organizations in Time: History, Theory and Methods.
- M. Bucheli and R. D. Wadhwani. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 192-216.
- Welter, F. and W. B. Gartner, Eds. (2016). A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context. Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing.
Looking to Publish your Research?
We aim to make publishing with Taylor & Francis a rewarding experience for all our authors. Please visit our Author Services website for more information and guidance, and do contact us if there is anything we can help with!
We welcome contributions to the outlined research agenda that are based on original research and innovative analysis. We particularly encourage contributions by interdisciplinary teams of authors and those that combine source-based historical analysis with insights, concepts or data from other disciplines.
Papers should not exceed 8,000 words, inclusive of tables and footnotes, and use US spelling. By submitting to the SI, authors confirm that their contributions are not under consideration elsewhere. All proposals should be submitted via ScholarOne, indicating that they are contributions to this Special Issue "Entrepreneurship and Transformations". All articles will go through a peer-review process. It is the responsibility of the author(s) to ensure that the manuscript fully complies with the publishing guidelines of Business History.
For questions about this Special Issue, please contact Christina Lubinski, [email protected]
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