A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context
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A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context

Edited by Friederike Welter and William B. Gartner

There is growing recognition that entrepreneurship can be better understood within its context(s). This carefully designed book invites readers to take a journey: from reflecting critically on where the discussion on context and entrepreneurship stands today towards identifying future research questions and themes that deserve the attention of entrepreneurship scholars. This collection draws attention to the research challenges the entrepreneurship field faces by reviewing the many facets of contexts and by reflecting on methods and theoretical approaches that are required in order to contextualize entrepreneurship research. Students and academics interested in context and entrepreneurship will benefit from this far-reaching and forward-thinking book.
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Chapter 8: Theorizing entrepreneurship in context

Erik Stam


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the foundations for theorizing entrepreneurship in context. The key questions are: what is the context of entrepreneurship and how can we know about this context? The chapter thus begins with an introduction of the meta-theoretical building blocks for a contextual approach to entrepreneurship, namely constructive realism and methodological interactionism or relationalism. Behavioural research is always based, either implicitly or explicitly, on assumptions about the thought and behaviour of the actors involved. These meta-theoretical building blocks provide a general framework for the analysis of thought and action of entrepreneurs. Next, we explore three modes of analysis that are essential for the study of entrepreneurship in context: evolutionary analysis, institutional analysis, and time-geography. Each mode of analysis approaches the context of entrepreneurship from different but complementary perspectives.

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