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William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague

This introduction offers an overview of the book, a sense of how and why all of these contributions fit together as a coherent whole and our logic for how scholars might make progress, broadly, when considering entrepreneurial: behavior, practice and process. The genesis of this book is derived from a simple question: What do entrepreneurs do? It became apparent to us that there was a need to weave together a number of disparate threads of ideas, methods, and insights about “what do entrepreneurs do” into a more comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon. We consider this book to be the beginning of a conversation that requires, you, the reader, to enter into a dialogue with us and contribute towards adding pieces to the fabric constructed here. The Handbook is the beginning of a more systematic and coordinated effort to build a research community focused on this question.

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Bruce T. Teague and William B. Gartner

In this chapter we contemplate the existing state of both conceptual and empirical research on the behavior of entrepreneurs. Our review suggests that notions about experts and expert skills are implied or utilized in many influential works that focus on entrepreneurial behavior. Based on our evaluation of critical findings from research on expert skills that are related to skill development, types of practice, and neurocognitive adaptation, we suggest implications and new research opportunities for scholars interested in what entrepreneurs do.

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Edited by William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and detailed exploration of this question: What do entrepreneurs do? The book offers three perspectives (behaviour, practice, process) on this question, demonstrates specific methods for answering the question (ethnography, autoethnography, participant observation, diaries, social media platforms and multilevel research techniques) and provides insights into the implications of pursuing this question as it pertains to: the timing and relationality of entrepreneurial activities, the influence of socially situated cognitions, the effect of team membership, and, the challenges of pursuing a behaviourally oriented entrepreneurship pedagogy.
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William B. Gartner, Bruce T. Teague, Ted Baker and R. Daniel Wadhwani

This chapter explores this question: What was known about “opportunity” before scholars began treating it as the “distinctive domain of entrepreneurship” (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000)? The chapter focuses on uncovering and recognizing a significant amount of past scholarship on opportunity that we suggest has value for helping entrepreneurship scholars, now, re-conceptualize the idea of opportunity as well as reformulate and contextualize methods and situations for studying opportunity as an aspect of entrepreneurship. We suggest that the concept of opportunity, historically, is much richer and more nuanced than is recognized in current scholarship. Second, there is a strong foundation of prior scholarship on the nature of opportunity from the strategic management area (e.g. Dutton and Jackson, 1987; Jackson and Dutton, 1988) that laid a strong foundation for any subsequent pursuit of opportunity as a subject of scholarship. Third, the idea of opportunity as a primary characteristic of entrepreneurship appears to have been first proposed by Stevenson (1983), and his subsequent work has, essentially, been ignored. We suggest that an ignorance of prior thought, theory and evidence has been detrimental to subsequent theory building and empirical research on the importance of opportunity as an idea that has value for understanding the nature of entrepreneurship. We offer some suggestions for how this prior research and theory might be fruitfully integrated into current scholarship on opportunity. Finally, we offer some thoughts for how a historical approach to entrepreneurship scholarship might be useful for informing the development of theory and practice.