Chapter 3: Research and researchers at the heart of entrepreneurial situations
1 Alain Fayolle INTRODUCTION The field of entrepreneurship is very diversified and its multiple fragments are studied by economists, sociologists, historians, psychologists, specialists of behavioural and management sciences (Filion, 1997). Even if significant research contributions have been made in the domain of entrepreneurship, the study of this field is still in its early stages (Brazeal and Herbert, 1999). The independent disciplinary approaches are no longer able to comprehensively develop knowledge of the entrepreneurial phenomenon that appears more and more complex (Wortman, 1987; Gartner, 1989; Bruyat and Julien, 2001). The complexity of the object and research field considerably increases the difficulty of the work of the researchers and probably explains the lack of continuity in the research (Wortman, 1987; Gartner, 1989; Bruyat, 1993). Under these conditions and for a number of years, there has been an increase in the quantity of epistemological and methodological research in entrepreneurship. Most tend to confirm the identity of the field and its positioning as an autonomous scientific one (Johannisson and Landström, 1999). The research also questions the scientific community, suggests ideas and raises issues that often underline the importance of the concept of opportunity and reveal the need to concentrate on the entrepreneurial processes (Bull and Willard, 1993; Venkataraman, 1997; Sarasvathy, 2000). Among this abundance of scientific research devoted to entrepreneurship, new methodological (Van de Ven, 1992; Steyaert and Bouwen, 1996; Tornikoski, 1999) or paradigmatic (Bouchikhi, 1993; Bruyat, 1993; Tornikoski, 1999; Bruyat and Julien, 2001) prospects have appeared. Attempts at a theoretical construction have...
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