Edited by William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague
Chapter 5: Ethnography’s answer to the plus zone challenge of entrepreneurship
One of the limitations in education and in entrepreneurship is the applicability of theory to practice, i.e., research to reality. This dichotomy, known as the “plus-zone challenge”, is germane because entrepreneurship engages in the study of processes and outliers. Ethnography is a subset of entrepreneurship that addresses the plus zone challenge. Unlike other methodologies, ethnography focuses on the “how” of entrepreneurship through the examination of entrepreneurial biographies in combination with the pathways pursued when exploiting opportunities. Moreover, through the use of anecdotes and vignettes, ethnographies form an emotional bond with the reader. Since many contextual variables in entrepreneurship are not generalizable, this connection with the audience divulges novel avenues for sensemaking and applications less visible using other methodologies. The ability to form these linkages bridges the gulf described as problematic in the plus zone challenge. This chapter is useful to academics, educators, and practitioners, who may benefit from ethnography’s accessibility vaults theory to the forefront of practice.
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