Handbook of Research On Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research On Entrepreneurship

What We Know and What We Need to Know

Edited by Alain Fayolle

This indispensable Handbook offers a fresh look at entrepreneurship research, addressing what we already know, and what we still need to know, in the field. Over the course of 17 chapters, a collaboration of 24 highly-regarded researchers, experts in their fields, provide an insightful new perspective on the future of the study of entrepreneurship. They show that there is a need to redesign research in the field – enacting entrepreneurship out of the box – and consider the history of entrepreneurship whilst developing the future course for research. They also underline the importance of developing research at the crossroads of different fields and the need to explore new domains and/or revisit existing ones from differing perspectives. Finally, they express a desire for more continuity in research, developing knowledge around key concepts and insightful domains.
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Chapter 14: Researching rural enterprise

Gerard McElwee and Robert Smith


This chapter is concerned with the topic of researching rural enterprise. As a subset of the literature of entrepreneurship, rural entrepreneurship and in particular rural enterprise is an emerging area of study. Bryant (1989) makes an important point when he argues that the entrepreneur (and the entrepreneurial activity of other people) in the rural environment is crucial in sustaining the vitality of rural areas. Entrepreneurship in rural areas is influenced by the evolution of rural territories expressed by demographic, economic, cultural, infrastructure changes, as reflected for example by a continual decline of new entrants into farming, and population movements into or out of rural places. This distinction between entrepreneurship and enterprise is of importance because, as we have shown elsewhere (McElwee and Smith, 2011), not all examples of enterprising behaviour actually constitute entrepreneurship per se. At a policy level, there is broad consensus that enterprise generates economic growth and vitality within an economy, and is fundamental to coping with and responding to broader changes in the organization and dynamics of economic activity and interaction (McElwee and Smith, 2011). Although regional and national economies consist of urban and rural components, much of the literature on entrepreneurship has an urban-centric focus which necessitates asking whether rural enterprise is a distinctive category of entrepreneurship in its own right.

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