Chapter 18: Wandering between contexts
As I sat down to reflect on my contributions to entrepreneurship research and what motivated them, I quickly realized that I needed to examine my own academic upbringing and early research activities. Looking back, my research ideas have been formed both by what I studied and by the variety of contexts to which my subsequent work has taken me. And my context ideas have also been formed by all the scholars, practitioners and policy makers from around the world I have been fortunate enough to be inspired by and to work with. Across what otherwise seems a diverse - perhaps even too diverse - list of research interests, the notion of context provides a common thread and unifying theme. I believe it is the great variety of contexts in which I had the opportunity to work that has greatly sensitized me to the role of context in creating the differences that make both the world and good theory interesting. The great variety of contexts has also made me intolerant of “universalizing” claims that endorse the belief that entrepreneurship is the same as we move through time or across places. My work has tried to appreciate that understanding differences are important both for building both theory and policy. In the following, I will relate in more detail how the context theme started to emerge throughout my studies and early research career and how a whole array of different research streams over time have fed into my understanding and appreciation of that, how and why context matters and what to do with this insight.
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