Exploring Entrepreneurial Thinking and Action
Edited by Frederic Bill, Björn Bjerke and Anders W. Johansson
Chapter 3: Creating the Collective Hero: Stories of Cooperative Development
Erik Rosell and Henrik Hultman INTRODUCTION We put our faith in heroes. In the area of regional development, public authorities put their faith in entrepreneurs, who are expected to create growth in the form of profitable businesses and new job opportunities (for example, European Commission, 2003, p. 7). In order to produce this effect, confidence is placed in support services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are expected to have a direct effect on macrovariables such as growth, profitability and job creation. Public authorities are found to focus on quantitative growth for SMEs and policy actions tend to be based on macro-expectations (Lambrecht and Pirnay, 2005). In this way, the actors are mobilized in a strong narrative structure produced by the government, concerning the relationship between entrepreneurship and regional development (Perren and Jennings, 2005). As pointed out by Ericsson (Chapter 10 of this book) such narrative structures can be seen to shape the way in which actors think, talk and feel, and as a consequence condition their actions. We argue that the narrative structure briefly depicted above is characterized by a strong emphasis on individual actors. The responsibility ascribed to the entrepreneurs and the support service organizations is great. Not surprisingly, the high expectations often lead to disappointment. SMEs are found to give priority to objectives other than growth (Johannisson, 1992; Johannisson and Abrahamsson, 2004). Evaluations of the effectiveness of external consultancies show mixed results, favouring the argument that consultancy has little or no effect on quantitative variables (Robson...
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