A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context

A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context

Elgar Research Agendas

Edited by Friederike Welter and William B. Gartner

There is growing recognition that entrepreneurship can be better understood within its context(s). This carefully designed book invites readers to take a journey: from reflecting critically on where the discussion on context and entrepreneurship stands today towards identifying future research questions and themes that deserve the attention of entrepreneurship scholars. This collection draws attention to the research challenges the entrepreneurship field faces by reviewing the many facets of contexts and by reflecting on methods and theoretical approaches that are required in order to contextualize entrepreneurship research. Students and academics interested in context and entrepreneurship will benefit from this far-reaching and forward-thinking book.

Chapter 6: Entrepreneurship in historical context: using history to develop theory and understand process

R. Daniel Wadhwani

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


Historical contextualization can be defined as the analysis or interpretation of past event(s), in relationship to their time and place, in ways that address a question or problem that arises in the present. This chapter describes the interpretive and analytical processes involved in historical contextualization and discusses their relevance in addressing particular topics within the domain of entrepreneurship scholarship. Specifically, it examines several elements in the design of historically contextualized research, including (a) the differences between scholarly and everyday historical contextualization, (b) the purposes historical contextualization serves, and (c) the interpretive or analytical processes involved, including periodization and the application of historical logics. It then shows how historical contextualization can be used to address several topics of concern to entrepreneurship scholars, including (a) the opportunity identification process, (b) the formation of entrepreneurial teams and networks, (c) the effects of institutions on entrepreneurship, and (d) the relationship between entrepreneurship and processes of economic change.

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