Edited by Elizabeth Chell and Mine Karataş-Özkan
This Handbook reviews a large number of concepts and techniques that have been used to analyse small business behaviour. Some have been borrowed from related disciplines, including economics, sociology and psychology, while others have originated within business and management studies itself. Some concepts have well-established intellectual pedigrees, while others are more recent innovations. Compared to most other social sciences, business and management studies is a relatively new area of professional inquiry, and within this domain small business studies is one of the newest. Given the large number of concepts that are currently employed to analyse small business behaviour, this chapter considers how many of these concepts are likely to survive as building blocks for future research. It argues that there is a significant degree of redundancy in the terminology of small business studies. While a degree of redundancy is typical of language, it is also true that it can generate cognitive overload and hinder learning (Plass et al., 2010) and ultimately damage the development of the discipline itself. There seem to be many words denoting the same thing, and sometimes no clear definition of the things they are supposed to denote. In the theory of the firm, for example, the success of a firm, in terms of its profitability and growth, is variously imputed to superior capabilities, competencies, entrepreneurship or managerial skills.
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