What We Know and What We Need to Know
Edited by Alain Fayolle
Chapter 8: Culture and entrepreneurship: empirical evidence for direct and indirect effects
Other than the endowment of natural resources controlled by a country, unique national cultures are a primary source of differentiation. It is therefore not surprising that for many years, scholars have sought to explain international differences in entrepreneurial activity in terms of cultural characteristics (McClelland, 1961; Weber, 1930). Three forces have accelerated the amount of research attention paid to this issue in the last two decades. First, the emergence of coherent, empirically derived characterizations of national culture, primarily that of Hofstede (1980), but also more recently the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004), have provided a framework within which questions may be framed in theoretically meaningful terms. The research underlying those models of culture also provides scholars with a set of metrics for culture that aid in the empirical testing of hypotheses. This important work on the operationalization of culture therefore has provided a critical platform from which to examine the central questions related to culture's consequences for entrepreneurial outcomes. The second influential factor has been a parallel development within entrepreneurship research, where large-scale databases, not least the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), have facilitated the exploration of international variations in levels of entrepreneurial activity. The third force at work reflects the continual theoretical innovation and empirical rigour evident within the entrepreneurship literature itself. Together with the availability of suitable measures and data, scholars have expanded the range of questions that they ask and tools used to obtain answers.
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