Outcomes and Perspectives
Chapter 2: Method Issues in the Study of Venture Start-up Processes
Per Davidsson INTRODUCTION It is increasingly agreed that the centre of gravity for entrepreneurship research should rest with the process of emergence. It is in particular three partly related strands, associated with three influential scholars who have led this development. First, Bill Gartner argued that entrepreneurship research ought to redirect interest from who the entrepreneur is to what he or she does in the process of firm emergence (Gartner, 1988; 1993; 2001). By so doing, entrepreneurship research would fill an important gap in organization theory, where the question of how organizations come into being has been a neglected issue. This perspective – that entrepreneurship is about the emergence of new organizations – has also been adopted by prominent sociologists (Aldrich, 1999; Thornton, 1999). Second, inspired by Austrian economics and by empirical work at the intersection of innovation and entrepreneurship, Sankaran Venkataraman (1997, cf. Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Van de Ven et al., 1989; van de Ven et al., 1999) has suggested that entrepreneurship is about the processes of discovery and exploitation of opportunities to create future goods and services. This perspective shares with Gartner the view that entrepreneurship is about emergence, and that entrepreneurship research can make a distinct contribution to social science by applying this focus, because other fields have not done a particularly good job with it. However, Venkataraman’s interest is more directed at the new activity rather than the new organization (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Third, in parallel with these conceptual developments Paul Reynolds – originally with colleagues Nancy Carter...
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