Annals in Entrepreneurship Education series
Edited by Michael H. Morris
Chapter 5: The curricular confusion between entrepreneurship education and small business management: a qualitative analysis
In the 1980s ‘strategic planning’ was the hot topic among both academic researchers and executives of complex organizations. Strategic planners were hired in droves. When Jack Welch became the CEO of General Electric, he discovered over 250 strategic planners at the corporate headquarters. This state of affairs led renowned academic scholar Henry Mintzberg to pen a bitingly astute book chapter titled: ‘If strategic planning is everything, then perhaps it is nothing’ (Mintzberg, 1994). The still emerging academic discipline of entrepreneurship now finds itself with a terminological issue brought on by the excessive use and overuse of the words ‘entrepreneur’, ‘entrepreneurship’, as well as the overuse and misuse of the word ‘entrepreneurial’. It is the misuse of the adjective ‘entrepreneurial’ that has been the most damaging as it is now used synonymously with creative and innovative and is often used gratuitously as a meaningless modifier (for example, an entrepreneurial campus, entrepreneurial finance, or entrepreneurial spread sheet). Perhaps an article will soon be written that parallels Mintzberg’s critique of two decades ago, titled, ‘If entrepreneurship is everything, then perhaps it is nothing’. When entrepreneurship was an incipient academic discipline, Bill Gartner’s 1988 article ‘‘Who is an entrepreneur is the wrong question’ freed researchers to proceed with necessary exploration and overcome pedantic paralysis. Now, as an adolescent, the field can productively revisit Gartner’s definitional debate.
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