Chapter 5: Method Issues in the Study of Venture Start-up Processes
* INTRODUCTION It is increasingly agreed that the centre of gravity for entrepreneurship research should rest with the process of emergence. It is in particular three partly related strands, associated with three inﬂuential scholars that have led this development. First, Bill Gartner argued that entrepreneurship research ought to redirect interest from who the entrepreneur is to what he or she does in the process of ﬁrm emergence (Gartner, 1988, 1993, 2001). By so doing, entrepreneurship research would ﬁll an important gap in organization theory, where the question of how organizations come into being has been a neglected issue. This perspective – that entrepreneurship is about the emergence of new organizations – has also been adopted by prominent sociologists (Aldrich, 1999; Thornton, 1999). Second, inspired by Austrian economics and by empirical work at the intersection of innovation and entrepreneurship, Sankaran Venkataraman (1997; compare Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Van de Ven et al., 1989, 1999) has suggested that entrepreneurship is about the processes of discovery and exploitation of opportunities to create future goods and services. This perspective shares with Gartner the view that entrepreneurship is about emergence and that entrepreneurship research can make a distinct contribution to social science by applying this focus, because other ﬁelds have not done a particularly good job with it. However, Venkataraman’s interest is primarily directed at the new activity rather than the new organization (compare Shane & Venkataraman, 2000). Third, in parallel with these conceptual developments Paul Reynolds – originally with colleagues Nancy Carter and Timothy Stearns when they were all...
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