International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM
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International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM

Edited by Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson

This invaluable reference tool has been designed in response to the growing recognition that too little is known about the intersection between entrepreneurship and human resource management. Paying particular attention to the ‘people’ side of venture emergence and development, it offers unique insights into the role that human resource management (HRM) plays in small and entrepreneurial firms.
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Chapter 2: The Nascent Entrepreneur, Business Development and the Role of Human Resources

Elizabeth Chell


Elizabeth Chell Introduction The activity of entrepreneurship is not a new phenomenon as testified by eighteenth-century economists in Europe and America (Chell et al., 1991; Hébert and Link, 1988). Entrepreneurship has become important from practical and policy perspectives for governments around the globe and it is therefore incumbent on theoreticians to develop sound, evidence-based models of the entrepreneur and entrepreneurial process. To date entrepreneurship is under-theorized and under-researched (Shane, 2003). There is no consensus on defining the terms ‘entrepreneurship’ or ‘entrepreneur’ although we are beginning to see convergence. In this chapter the focus is on nascent entrepreneurship, while ‘[a] nascent entrepreneur is defined as someone who initiates serious activities that are intended to culminate in a viable business startup’ (Aldrich, 1999: p. 77). Thus, nascent entrepreneurs have a serious intention to found a business venture and they are at the very early stages of garnering resources, learning heuristically how to go about the act of founding, and as such they are in the throes of testing out and developing their ideas, seeking to realize opportunities and indulging in impression management. Human resource management (HRM) issues become evident as the nascent entrepreneurial venture develops. Thus the objective of this chapter is to explore current theory and evidence on the nature and process of nascent entrepreneurship in order to consider various HRM implications. The chapter is organized in the following way. First the various approaches taken to understanding the nature of the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial process and the...

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