Inderscience Publishers

Conceptualising entrepreneurship as economic 'explanation' and the consequent loss of 'understanding'

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This paper examines how entrepreneurship has become conceptualised as an economic phenomenon. We explain how the outcomes, the admirable results of entrepreneurship, have led to this position. An understandable concern for the economic benefits from enterprise, and the appeal of measurability, has led to a focus on explaining entrepreneurship. This has been matched by a relative neglect of examining the processes that would help us to understand entrepreneurship. Explanations of entrepreneurship best fit a systems view, where entrepreneurship is a mechanism for adjustment to change, as for example in Kirznerian alertness. But such a view cannot take full account of how entrepreneurship produces change. In homogenising entrepreneurship's idiosyncratic nature, we miss the nuanced understanding of how the entrepreneurial self fits into context to create, as well as employ, change. The instrumentality of explanation obscures the subjectivity of entrepreneurial practices.

Keywords: entrepreneurial enactment, opportunity creation, social process, social construction, context, entrepreneurship, systems view

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