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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 6: Exploring the promises of enactive research

Bengt Johannisson


The hands-on involvement of scholars as producers of new realities certainly creates important ethical challenges that have to be actively dealt with. Nevertheless the enactive approach supplements scholars’ indirect impact on society through discursive approaches. Enactive research also offers a constructive way of including education in the making of entrepreneurial universities that recognizes their unique composition of research, education and outreach activities in the service of society at large. Today ‘entrepreneurial’ universities usually defer to major external stakeholders, mainly the business community. If it is recognized that each field should make its own contribution to social research at large, the enactive methodology appears as a unique contribution from the field of entrepreneurship. Although rigour and relevance will always remain important aspects of research quality, ‘originality’ in theorizing and modes of inquiring, which learns from entrepreneuring as ongoing change, should be considered an equally important aspect of quality in social research.

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