Chapter 2: Strategies for entrepreneurship development: striking a balance between explorative and exploitative research
1 Harold P. Welsch and Jianwen Liao INTRODUCTION The growth and development of the field of entrepreneurship became an issue of concern in the late 1980s after it became evident that entrepreneurship was a major force in the academic world. The question then became how the field was emerging, what variations appeared, what barriers and obstacles existed and what were the weaknesses and criticisms from which the field suffered. In a review of the field, Hills (1988) pointed out some problem areas such as that small business (vs. entrepreneurship) carried a negative image in a low-status realm associated with poor quality research. Small firms by connotation were less worthwhile than larger ones. He argued that entrepreneurship was a fad, and that ‘non-industry, non-stage of business life cycle, non-size truths apply to all’ and that entrepreneurship is therefore too specialized an area for scholarly development. Entrepreneurship has struggled long and hard for an identity in an effort to be recognized and accepted. In its early years it had to deal with several problems. First, it had to get past the negative connotations that the ‘small business’ label carried, i.e., ‘buying a job’, lack of growth, lack of innovation, and the ‘ma and pa’ image. Second, it had to establish itself as its own field, not one under the mantle of ‘small business’. This involved achieving recognition for the field as an independent discipline even though there were few distinct criteria that made it unique (Plaschka and Welsch, 1990). Entrepreneurship fell into...
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