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Bengt Johannisson

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Bengt Johannisson

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Bengt Johannisson

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Bengt Johannisson

Process philosophy has drawn attention to the world as ambiguous and ever changing, however, also enactable. This makes entrepreneurship a processual phenomenon, rightly addressed as ‘entrepreneuring’. Recognizing not only their cognitive, yet also affective and conative capabilities, makes it possible for human actors to mobilize forces that bring the world to a standstill long enough to create a venture for value creation. This, however, calls for insight that is different to universal scientific knowledge – episteme and techne – namely situated insights addressed as m_tis and phronesis. M_tis then concerns alertness and shrewdness and phronesis is about prudence in the context of action. Academic education can only provide the latter competencies able to train for entrepreneuring by letting the students travel across the boundaries of the university. In addition, the dominance of management as an ideology must be pro-actively dealt with in order to create space for entrepreneurial practices. Three cases in academic training for entrepreneuring, all in the Swedish context, which show radically different ways of dealing with these challenges, are presented in a comparative analysis. The lessons are summarized as general conditions for providing training that advances entrepreneurship students’ situated and actionable insights.

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Bengt Johannisson

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Bengt Johannisson

The scholar or entresearcher’s ability to practise enactive research is conditioned by her/his commitment to entrepreneuring, as a field of study as well as a practice. The entresearcher has to be familiar with both the general domain and the concrete setting of the enacted venture. Two such ventures, each covering about a one-year enactment process, are reported as chronological realist tales as well as kairotic impressionistic tales presented as vignettes. The latter are structured into ‘circumstances’, ‘predicaments’ and ‘interventions’ according to what control the entresearcher had over their emergence. Both ventures aimed at stimulating local or regional development with the university as a major contributor. The first venture, enacted in 1999, focused on the role of culture, while the second one, enacted in 2014, aimed at adding a social dimension to regional development. A systematic comparative analysis of the two entrepreneurial events is applied to expand the scope of both the methodology and the findings.

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Bengt Johannisson

The proposed action rationale for entrepreneuring includes the following formative dispositions: 1) considering change and experimenting as a natural state; 2) experiencing the personal network as a bodily extension; 3) recognizing venturing as a collaborative undertaking; 4) rationalizing and imputing agency to one’s own actions over random events; 5) safeguarding room for manoeuvring; and 6) regarding institutions as competitors, indifference as an enemy and resistance as an energizer. These dispositions encapsulate the entrepreneur’s personal relations, which provide the warp of the entrepreneurial career imagined as a rag-rug. Its weft is constituted by the resources (rags) that feed situated practices. In the venturing process these appear as prosaic everyday activities as much as they appear as dramatic events. The overall weaving process as a metaphor for the practice of entrepreneuring is guided by the duality of conscientiousness and grit, where as much attention is paid to details as to the crafting of an entrepreneurial career and identity.

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Bengt Johannisson

The hands-on involvement of scholars as producers of new realities certainly creates important ethical challenges that have to be actively dealt with. Nevertheless the enactive approach supplements scholars’ indirect impact on society through discursive approaches. Enactive research also offers a constructive way of including education in the making of entrepreneurial universities that recognizes their unique composition of research, education and outreach activities in the service of society at large. Today ‘entrepreneurial’ universities usually defer to major external stakeholders, mainly the business community. If it is recognized that each field should make its own contribution to social research at large, the enactive methodology appears as a unique contribution from the field of entrepreneurship. Although rigour and relevance will always remain important aspects of research quality, ‘originality’ in theorizing and modes of inquiring, which learns from entrepreneuring as ongoing change, should be considered an equally important aspect of quality in social research.

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Bengt Johannisson

Some contemporary practice theories are not well suited to studying entrepreneurship as ongoing creative organizing. In order to catch the emergence of entrepreneurship, the scholar has to adopt a dwelling mode and immerse themselves into the concrete doings, the practices, of ‘entrepreneuring’, thus amalgamating the researcher and entrepreneur identities. Enactive research thus means that the scholar enacts a real-life venture and uses auto-ethnographic methods to organize the insights being gained. Two enacted, year long, projects, are reported in detail and the methods used and the findings from the research are reported in this thought-provoking book.