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Disclosing Entrepreneurship as Practice

The Enactive Approach

Bengt Johannisson

Some contemporary practice theories are not well suited to studying entrepreneurship as ongoing creative organizing. In order to catch the emergence of entrepreneurship, the scholar has to adopt a dwelling mode and immerse themselves into the concrete doings, the practices, of ‘entrepreneuring’, thus amalgamating the researcher and entrepreneur identities. Enactive research thus means that the scholar enacts a real-life venture and uses auto-ethnographic methods to organize the insights being gained. Two enacted, year long, projects, are reported in detail and the methods used and the findings from the research are reported in this thought-provoking book.
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Chapter 3: Featuring enactive research as a methodology

Bengt Johannisson


With its focus on hands-on practices, embodied knowledge and the personal commitment of the scholar, enactive research stands out in the family of interactive approaches inviting practitioners jointly with scholars to create new knowledge. This implies that the identities of researcher and entrepreneur are amalgamated into the hybrid identity of an ‘entresearcher’. The scholar thus engages in the organizing of an event that adopts its own action rationale originating in the formative dispositions of the entresearcher. This rationale frames the actions and interactions taken over the different phases of the enactment of a venture. These phases include 1) the entresearcher’s familiarization with the empirical context, 2) initiation of the venture, 3) its actualization, 4) the entresearcher’s separation from the context and 5) reflection on field experiences. Auto-ethnography as the general method being applied draws upon all three kinds of tales proposed by Van Maanen, i.e. realist, impressionistic and confessional tales.

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