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Friederike Welter

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Friederike Welter

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Friederike Welter

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Friederike Welter

In this chapter, I am going to illustrate how contextualizing entrepreneurship and innovation through words and images can assist us in gaining a more realistic understanding, whilst at the same time offering scope for theory development and novel research questions. Words and images are powerful: they frame the ways we perceive what entrepreneurship and innovation is and what not. Recently, entrepreneurship scholars have started paying more attention to linguistics, metaphors and images. Some entrepreneurship scholars also have turned to visual analysis, but there is scope to further implement that into entrepreneurship research. If we expand on the language, images and pictures we use to describe and visualize innovative entrepreneurs, we will be able to study and see the greater variety and heterogeneity of the phenomenon, adding to more realistic entrepreneurship research.

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Friederike Welter

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Friederike Welter

Trust has gained attention in entrepreneurship research over the past decade because of its influence on reducing transaction costs and risks involved with entrepreneurship. However, the concept has proved difficult to define. Most definitions build on the following elements: reciprocity, expectations and trustworthiness (Höhmann and Malieva, 2005). Reciprocity is required for trust as it signals to trustor and trustee that the trust they extend to each other will be given back. In this regard, trust is a result of expectations towards others. In other words, I expect an unknown person to act in my own interest or at least to take my interests into account although I cannot be sure about the final outcome of my decision; I just hope not to be disappointed, which can be based on my interpretation of signals sent by the other party. In this regard, trust involves a ‘leap of faith’ (Möllering, 2006) which is required to create familiarity between partners. It is here that trustworthiness comes in: individuals can signal that they are worthy of trust, thus reducing the initial ‘leap of faith’ and encouraging trusting behaviour. Trustworthiness is reflected in, for example, recommendations of other, trusted and known parties, reputations, previous behaviour and a general willingness not to cheat on others (Nooteboom, 2002). Trust can be differentiated into personal and institutional trust. Trust has been shown to play a role in networks and for network emergence (Anderson and Jack, 2002; Neergaard and Ulhoi, 2006), for credit relations of small firms (Howorth and Moro, 2006), to help new entrepreneurs in gaining legitimacy (Aldrich, 2000; Jenssen, 2001) and to start their business (Liao and Welsch, 2005), and to generally assist in business relations and cooperation (Chadarova, 2007), in particular also across borders (Wallace et al., 1999; Welter and Smallbone, 2008). Most entrepreneurship research has focused on the role of personal trust for entrepreneurial behaviour, often studying trust indirectly (for a review see Welter et al., 2004a). Personal trust may arise from the characteristics of a group such as an ethnic or kinship group, but it also occurs in bilateral (business) relationships, often longstanding ones, where persons have got to know each other (Williamson, 1993). In both cases, they know or assume that the partner/friend will not behave in a way detrimental to the relationship, even without written rules. Such relationships are therefore governed by norms, values and codes of conduct inherent in a business environment and/ or wider society.

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Friederike Welter

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Friederike Welter

This paper sets out to explore contexts for entrepreneurship, illustrating how a contextualized view of entrepreneurship contributes to our understanding of the phenomenon. There is growing recognition in entrepreneurship research that economic behavior can be better understood within its historical, temporal, institutional, spatial, and social contexts, as these contexts provide individuals with opportunities and set boundaries for their actions. Context can be an asset and a liability for the nature and extent of entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurship can also impact contexts. The paper argues that context is important for understanding when, how, and why entrepreneurship happens and who becomes involved. Exploring the multiplicity of contexts and their impact on entrepreneurship, it identifies challenges researchers face in contextualizing entrepreneurship theory and offers possible ways forward.