Handbook of Research on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Edited by Elizabeth Chell and Mine Karataş-Özkan

This insightful Handbook focuses on behaviour, performance and relationships in small and entrepreneurial firms. It introduces a variety of contemporary topics, research methods and theoretical frameworks that will provide cutting edge analysis, stimulate thought, raise further questions and demonstrate the complexity of the rapidly-advancing field of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 12: Behavior of entrepreneurs - existing research and future directions

Barbara Bird, Leon Schjoedt and Ralph Hanke


Three arguments are widely recognized as the foundation for considering entrepreneurship as a distinct field of inquiry (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000). The first argument is that entrepreneurship is a societal process that converts information and resources into new product and service offerings (Arrow, 1962). The second argument is entrepreneurship drives change in products and services (Schumpeter, 1934). The third argument is that entrepreneurship facilitates discovery and mitigation of economic inefficiencies, both temporally and spatially (Kirzner, 1997). All three arguments are grounded in economic thinking, not grounded in behavior. The behavior of entrepreneurs is an important aspect of new venture creation because if entrepreneurs do not act, there will be no venture creation and, thus, no entrepreneurship. Because entrepreneurs' behavior is important to entrepreneurship, we would expect ample research on entrepreneurs' behavior. This, however, is not the case (Bird & Schjoedt, 2009; Bird, Schjoedt, & Baum, 2012). Thus, we lack understanding about what behaviors entrepreneurs engage in as part of the new venture creation process and whether entrepreneurs' behavior is distinguishable from that of other economic actors. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage research on entrepreneurs' behavior. First, we clarify what constitutes entrepreneurs' behavior. Second, we distinguish behavior from other related concepts. Third, we also distinguish entrepreneurs' behaviors in terms of the role behaviors of entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders. Fourth, we connect entrepreneurs' behavior to three relevant constructs—cognition, motivation, and decision-making. Fifth, we review extant literature on entrepreneurs' behavior with a specific focus on research methodology.

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