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David Smallbone

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David Smallbone

This important research review presents an authoritative discussion of papers concerned with entrepreneurship and public policy, drawing on a wide range of international experience. Topics analysed include: entrepreneurship and economic growth, the research-policy interface, innovation and entrepreneurship, taxation policies and regulation, interventions in the market for business advice and regional perspectives on entrepreneurship. The review also addresses policy evaluation studies, covering both ‘hard’ financial measures and ‘soft’ interventions focused on information, advice, training and networking.
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David Smallbone

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David Smallbone

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David Smallbone

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David Smallbone and Friederike Welter

This paper is concerned with the distinctiveness of entrepreneurship and small business development in countries that are at different stages of transition to market based economies. Following a discussion of the potential relevance of selected conceptualisations of entrepreneurship to transition conditions, the authors present original empirical data referring to the characteristics of entrepreneurs and their businesses from countries at different stages of market reform. Distinctive features of entrepreneurial behaviour identified reflect the unstable and hostile nature of the external environment and the scarcity of key resources, particularly capital. In an unstable and weakly structured environment, informal networks often play a key role in helping entrepreneurs to mobilise resources, win orders and cope with the constraints imposed by highly bureaucratic structures and often unfriendly officials. Moreover, the social context inherited from the former socialist period appears to affect both the attitudes and behaviour of entrepreneurs and the attitudes of society at large towards entrepreneurship.

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David Smallbone and Friederike Welter

This paper investigates the meaning and appropriateness of concepts of necessity and opportunity driven entrepreneurship in early stage transition economies, where market reform has been slow and institutional deficiencies make the environment for productive entrepreneurship difficult. Using a combination of survey and case study evidence, the authors show the limitations of extracting such terms from their social context, with implications for the assessment of the entrepreneurial capacity of these countries. Moreover, it is argued that such concepts pay insufficient attention to dynamic influences, such as the learning capacity of individuals, particularly in contexts where entrepreneurs typically possess considerable human capital.

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Friederike Welter and David Smallbone

This paper aims to make a contribution to our conceptual understanding of women entrepreneurship under ‘early stage’ transition conditions, by researching the nature of it in Uzbekistan. Institutional theory is used as a guiding frame of reference because the specific characteristics of the external environment under transition conditions make the latter a particularly strong influence on entrepreneurship. Empirically, the paper draws on data which was collected in Uzbekistan, within a collaborative research project (INTAS 00-843). The empirical material demonstrates that informal institutions dominating Uzbek society contribute to the prevailing forms of female entrepreneurship.

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Friederike Welter and David Smallbone

This paper examines the institutional embeddedness of entrepreneurial behavior. The institutional context influences the nature, pace of development, and extent of entrepreneurship as well as the way entrepreneurs behave. This is particularly apparent in challenging environments such as emerging market and transition economies with an uncertain, ambiguous, and turbulent institutional framework. The paper develops suggestions as to how to extend the current institutional approach by emphasizing that institutions not only influence entrepreneurs but entrepreneurs may also influence institutional development by contributing to institutional change. This also includes acknowledging the heterogeneity of entrepreneurial responses to institutional conditions, depending on the situational configuration of institutional fit, enterprise characteristics, and entrepreneur’s background, in which the role of trust as an influence on entrepreneurial behavior needs to be investigated. By focusing on these interrelationships, the paper aims to make a theoretical contribution to the field of entrepreneurship, illustrating how entrepreneurial behavior is linked to its social context.

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Friederike Welter and David Smallbone

The paper reviews the current discussion on institutional change and institutional entrepreneurship. Specifically, it focuses on institutional change agents, by which we mean individuals whose actions can be shown to have contributed to formal or informal institutional change, to the benefit of the wider economy or society as well as to themselves. It aims to explore their antecedents and behaviours, and the contingent factors contributing to institutional change, both intentionally and unintentionally. We find that the concept of institutional entrepreneurship does not provide an adequate conceptual underpinning for incorporating human agency into institutionalised theory. We therefore argue that a focus on “institutional change agents may be more productive. Whilst institutional theory recognizes the impact of institutions on entrepreneurs and individuals, this paper draws attention to the role of human agency for institutional change. Institutional change can happen intentionally and as an unintended by-product of entrepreneurial or organisational ‘path-dependent’ behaviour. The implication of this is that it is not only intentional behaviour which contributes to institutional change, but rather any entrepreneurial behaviour which implicitly or explicitly questions existing institutions. Thus, the paper adds to the current debate on institutional entrepreneurship.