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 8: Practicing participant observations: capturing entrepreneurial practices

Malin Tillmar

Abstract

In this chapter, the author shares experiences of using different kinds of participant observations to capture entrepreneurial processes and practices. The potential for theory development inherent in researchers gaining embodied experiences of entrepreneurship as practice is a theme of the chapter. Dilemmas encountered in the field, such as blending in or not blending in, closeness versus distance as well as issues of power distance and division of labor, are discussed. By using examples from her own ethnographically oriented research in both Sweden and East Africa, the author wishes to inspire others to engage in informed experimentation with participant observation and ethnographic approaches in their studies of entrepreneurship.

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