Chapter 5: Is the medium really the message? Moving perspective from the entrepreneurial actor to the entrepreneurial action
Carin Holmquist INTRODUCTION Drawing on experience from researching entrepreneurship, this chapter deals with the problem of attributing entrepreneurship as a phenomenon to individuals – entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a wide and varied phenomenon that permeates society in ways that we have yet to grasp, and the reification of entrepreneurship in the form of single individuals – entrepreneurs – hampers a full understanding of the phenomenon at hand. Research has long struggled with the concept of entrepreneurship. This chapter suggests an outline for an alternative way of thinking that complements rather than totally alters existing research on the phenomenon. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the effects of reifying entrepreneurial action and of making the entrepreneur and his/her company the focus of interest and to propose alternative perspectives. This analysis starts with a discussion of how and why the phenomenon of entrepreneurship is reified in the bulk of existing research. Then follows a discussion of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon and the neglect of this complexity in our research. We will focus on parts of the phenomenon that are neglected even if we restrict our discussion to the business creation sphere as well as on neglected aspects of the phenomenon of entrepreneurship outside the business creation field. Such neglected parts of entrepreneurship are for instance the existence of collective entrepreneurship (teams, families etc as entrepreneurs), the exclusion of entrepreneurs that do not fit into the stereotype of the entrepreneur (gendered [male], ethnical [white] etc), the exclusion of temporary entrepreneurship (not leading to...
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