Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This unique reference book provides an array of diverse perspectives on international entrepreneurship, a new and emerging field of research that blends concepts and methodologies from more traditional social sciences. The Handbook includes chapters written by top researchers of economics and sociology, as well as academic leaders in the fields of entrepreneurship and international business. State-of-the-art contributions provide up-to-date literature reviews, making this book essential for the researcher of entrepreneurship and the internationalisation of entrepreneurs.
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Chapter 43: On Field Research Methods for Theory Building and Testing

Thierry Volery


43 On field research methods for theory building and testing Thierry Volery This chapter discusses the different standpoints from which the entrepreneurship phenomenon can be analysed. Four main units of analysis are identified: the individual, the environment, the project and the newly created organization. Conducting research in an international environment is particularly challenging because of cultural, economic and technical differences which affect the entrepreneurial process. This chapter further presents a typology of field research methods and discusses their contribution to theory building and testing. The overall conclusion is that field research methods will continue to be used heavily to develop entrepreneurship research. These conditions include a balanced research agenda, multifaceted research approaches and innovative data-gathering techniques. The chapter also recommends new methodological inputs from other academic disciplines that are more experienced with human interaction research. In recent years, the field of entrepreneurship has experienced increased criticism, for several reasons. Firstly, the phenomenon of entrepreneurship has lacked a conceptual framework that explains and predicts a set of empirical phenomena. Much of this has stemmed from the absence of a broadly accepted definition of entrepreneurship. Secondly, and as a consequence, scholars in entrepreneurship have been at pains to explain how their field differs from others such as strategic management, small business management or economics. Thirdly, much of the criticism relates to the research methods used to investigate the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. The criticism spans researchers’ descriptive orientation, lack of conceptual adequacy, the commonsense nature of findings,...

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