Edited by Gordon E. Shockley, Peter M. Frank and Roger R. Stough
2. Entrepreneurship and human action Roger Koppl and Maria Minniti INTRODUCTION1 The central ﬁgure in entrepreneurship research is the entrepreneur. Without the entrepreneur our object of inquiry disappears. One might expect, then, that all our eﬀorts would be based on a clear, scientiﬁc understanding of the entrepreneur and his function. This is not the case, however. We do not know who the entrepreneur is, and we do not know what makes him an entrepreneur. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify who the entrepreneur is and what makes him an entrepreneur. Confusion over the identity of the entrepreneur does not reﬂect any neglect of the question by entrepreneurship scholars. On the contrary, the problem has received considerable attention in the entrepreneurship literature. It is a diﬃcult scientiﬁc problem, however, to decide precisely who is an entrepreneur and what entrepreneurial behavior is. Diﬀerent answers have been proposed without a consensus view emerging (Gartner, 2001). A uniﬁed and comprehensive theory of entrepreneurship, we argue, is possible if and only if we see entrepreneurship as a universal form of human action. Overall, a large amount of research on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship has been conducted in recent years.2 Yet, no consensus has emerged on who is an entrepreneur. This fact reﬂects a diﬃculty with entrepreneurship research that might be attributed to its relative youth as a separate discipline.3 Entrepreneurship research today is rich in facts, but poor in theory. Entrepreneurship scholars have produced many...
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