Heterogeneity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Edited by Elias G. Carayannis, Aris Kaloudis and Åge Mariussen
Chapter 7: Entrepreneurship and Heterogeneity
Olav R. Spilling INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to discuss heterogeneity and entrepreneurship, and how entrepreneurship works as a heterogeneity-increasing mechanism as well as a heterogeneity-decreasing mechanism. The discussion is inspired by evolutionary economics as well as recent developments in more ‘standard’ economics in which there has been a growing interest in the issue of heterogeneity. However, turning to many of the basic works within the tradition of evolutionary economics and population ecology, one ﬁnds very little on the concept of heterogeneity (see for instance, Aldrich, 1999; Hannan and Freeman, 1989; Magnusson and Ottosson, 1997; Metcalfe, 1998; Nelson and Winter, 1982), although the principle of heterogeneity may be regarded as an underlying precondition for many of the evolutionary approaches (Andersen, 1994). While the key focus in analysing evolution is on mechanisms related to variation and selection, the principle of heterogeneity may be more implicit in the analyses; that is, mechanisms inducing variation contribute to increased heterogeneity, while selection mechanisms contribute to reduced heterogeneity. If there is little explicit focus on heterogeneity in the tradition of evolutionary economics, there is even less within the tradition of entrepreneurship research, where a main tendency is to analyse entrepreneurship as individualized processes in which the systemic dimension often is absent. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as in the analysis of entrepreneurship related to the environment, and analyses of entrepreneurship based on a population ecological approach (Aldrich, 1999), or entrepreneurship analysed in the context of technological regimes (Audretsch and Acs,...
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