Outcomes and Perspectives
Chapter 7: The Origins, Lessons and Definition of Entrepreneurial Achievement: A Multi-Paradigm Perspective Via the Case Method
Ajay Bhalla, Steven Henderson and David Watkins INTRODUCTION: CASES AND CONSTRUCTS IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP RESEARCH The narration of stories is an ancient form of imparting knowledge. A well told story holds the attention of the reader and allows the sharing of wisdom and meaning with the inexperienced. It allows the imaginative listener to march with Agamemnon, feast with Jamshed or sail with Noah, absorbing cultural messages and experiences. Freer thinkers and intellectuals may periodically reassess and reinterpret these messages, and review the consequences of alternative actions. One modern descendent of the story is the case study, which, for a variety of reasons, is central to teaching within several different disciplines, particularly those of an overtly vocational and professional nature. Thus, Law has been taught at Harvard using the case method since the middle of the 19th century (Gue, 1997). This seems inherently reasonable, since cases are not only a pedagogic resource but actually constitute much of the discipline’s lifeblood, not least because under Common Law the ‘case’ is the key unit of progression for the law itself. In other disciplines, such as medicine, cases are used both as an illustration of established general principles, and to simulate practice for diagnosis and application of these principles to patients in later professional life. It is less easy to explain the use of the case method in management and business research and education. Management processes and organizations, like life itself, are not experienced or particularly well explained as a ‘case study’, and thus are...
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