Handbook of Research On Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research On Entrepreneurship

What We Know and What We Need to Know

Edited by Alain Fayolle

This indispensable Handbook offers a fresh look at entrepreneurship research, addressing what we already know, and what we still need to know, in the field. Over the course of 17 chapters, a collaboration of 24 highly-regarded researchers, experts in their fields, provide an insightful new perspective on the future of the study of entrepreneurship. They show that there is a need to redesign research in the field – enacting entrepreneurship out of the box – and consider the history of entrepreneurship whilst developing the future course for research. They also underline the importance of developing research at the crossroads of different fields and the need to explore new domains and/or revisit existing ones from differing perspectives. Finally, they express a desire for more continuity in research, developing knowledge around key concepts and insightful domains.
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Chapter 2: Organizing entrepreneurship (research)

William B. Gartner


The goal of this chapter is to offer some thoughts about the nature of the field of entrepreneurship, and particularly about the future of entrepreneurship scholarship. I begin with a recollection of a suggestion I made to students at doctoral seminars in the 1990s that 'all academic research on entrepreneurship could easily be read within a couple of months'. (I was recently reminded of this statement by Daniel Hjorth when I told him I was much behind in my journal reading.) Then, there simply wasn't much scholarship to digest. For example, it is well worth procuring one of the first handbooks on entrepreneurship, Sexton and Vesper's (1982) Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship, to peruse the topics and to explore the depth of knowledge, then known, on the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. I was a doctoral student who was fortunate to attend the conference upon which the Encyclopedia was based, and it seemed to me that the entire body of entrepreneurship scholars could easily fit in a small sized classroom (which they did for that meeting). As Aldrich (2012) points out in his review and personal history of the entrepreneurship field, the study of entrepreneurship as a scholarly endeavor is relatively young. For example, the Journal of Business Venturing was started in 1985, and therefore reading every issue of the journal in the 1990s (that is, merely 101 volumes of articles) would take less than a couple of days.

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