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Edited by Kevin Hindle and Kim Klyver
Chapter 3: Who’s Asking the Right Question? Patterns and Diversity in the Literature of New Venture Creation
Hans Landström and Fredrik Åström INTRODUCTION During the last 30 years, entrepreneurship has become one of the most popular fields of research in management studies, having grown more or less exponentially since the early 1990s. Although entrepreneurship research has a very long history – we can find early research with a focus on entrepreneurship as long ago as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – more systematic research emerged during the 1980s, not least among management scholars. Initially the research was dominated by an interest in searching for the entrepreneur as an individual and attempting to reveal his/her personality and traits. However, this research was strongly criticized and by the late 1980s there was a systematic shift in entrepreneurship research, from a focus on the entrepreneur as an individual towards the entrepreneurial process and behaviour. One researcher played a very influential role in the above-mentioned shift. In his seminal article ‘Who is the entrepreneur? is the wrong question’ in 1988, William Gartner was one of the first to claim that entrepreneurship researchers ought to pay more attention to the behavioural aspects of entrepreneurship and in particular to the creation of new organizations. However, Gartner was not alone in his argumentation for a change of focus in entrepreneurship research. A similar line of reasoning was, for example, pursued by William Bygrave and Charles Hofer (1991), who stated that ‘the entrepreneurial process involves all the functions, activities and actions associated with the perceiving of opportunities and the creation of organizations to pursue them’...
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