Context, Process and Gender in Entrepreneurship

Context, Process and Gender in Entrepreneurship

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series

Edited by Robert Blackburn, Ulla Hytti and Friederike Welter

By combining high quality and in-depth research in the field, this book provides a state of the art analysis of the current topical issues in European entrepreneurship and small business research. With contributions from international experts, the book provides a particular focus on the behaviour between individuals and groups within different contexts; the personal and structural factors that shape entrepreneurial and small business activity; and a focus on gender in entrepreneurship within different contexts.

Chapter 4: Institutional entrepreneuring in erratic environments

Jan Hermes and Tuija Mainela

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


In the search for explanations of the ‘paradox of embedded agency’ (cf. Battilana et al. 2009; Weik 2011; Wijen and Ansari 2007; Holm 1995), the institutional entrepreneurship literature has gradually moved from actor-or agency-dominated studies to research emphasising structural conditions in institutional change and, in particular, their recursive effects (for example, Dorado and Ventresca 2013). In addition to this shift in focus from individual to structural levels of analysis, more emphasis has been placed on the underlying ontological assumptions about institutional change processes (cf. Steyaert 2007). Rooted in neoclassical economics, most studies within the traditional (economic) entrepreneurship discipline subscribe to a rather stable worldview (for example, Hensmans 2003), building on rational decision-making or causation-based models (Sarasvathy 2001; Perry et al. 2012). In contrast, several scholars have noted that institutional change processes are inherently complex and unpredictable (Garud et al. 2007; Steyaert 2007) because the environment in which change processes occur is turbulent and unpredictable (Möllering 2007; Welter and Smallbone 2011). Hence, analysis of change processes also requires a dynamic perspective on actors’ environments (for example, Steyaert 2007; Tobias et al. 2013; Aldrich 2010) and behaviour. Our study aims to provide a conceptualisation of how institutional entrepreneurs’ behaviour in non-stable environments influences such environments.

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