Table of Contents

Entrepreneurship, Social Capital and Governance

Entrepreneurship, Social Capital and Governance

Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough

This book highlights the role of entrepreneurship, social capital and governance for regional economic development. In recent decades, many researchers have claimed that entrepreneurship is the most critical factor in sustaining regional economic growth. However, most entrepreneurship research is undertaken without considering the fundamental importance of the regional context. Other research has emphasized the role of social capital but there are substantial problems in empirically relating measures of social capital to regional economic development.

Chapter 8: A multidimensional perspective on entrepreneurship

Hans Westlund

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


‘We are all entrepreneurs now’. The quotation is the title of an article by Pozen (2008) in which he documented and analyzed the use of the entrepreneurship concept outside its mainstream, economic context. This mainstream literature has empirically stuck to relatively simple and robust definitions of the concept: the starting up of new businesses or being selfemployed. Also the theoretical contributions, from Cantillon (1755), via Schumpeter (1911/1934), Knight (1921) and Kirzner (1973), to Shane and Venkataraman (2000)–including the literature on ‘intrapreneurship’ (Pinchot and Pinchot, 1978; Pinchot, 1985 etc.)–have one clear thing in common with the mainstream empirical literature: they both restrict the concept of entrepreneurship to the business sphere of society. Many of the general definitions of entrepreneurship are centered on the discovery (or creation) of business opportunities and the gathering of resources to exploit them. One example is that by Shane (2003, p. 4): ‘Entrepreneurship is an activity that includes the discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities to introduce new goods and services, ways of organizing, markets, processes, and raw materials, through organizing efforts that previously had not existed.’

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