Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Behavior, Practice and Process
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Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Behavior, Practice and Process

Edited by William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and detailed exploration of this question: What do entrepreneurs do? The book offers three perspectives (behaviour, practice, process) on this question, demonstrates specific methods for answering the question (ethnography, autoethnography, participant observation, diaries, social media platforms and multilevel research techniques) and provides insights into the implications of pursuing this question as it pertains to: the timing and relationality of entrepreneurial activities, the influence of socially situated cognitions, the effect of team membership, and, the challenges of pursuing a behaviourally oriented entrepreneurship pedagogy.
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Chapter 5: Ethnography’s answer to the plus zone challenge of entrepreneurship

R. Duncan M. Pelly and Alain Fayolle

Abstract

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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