ESU Conference 2009 on Entrepreneurship
Benevento, 9-12 September 2009
What can we learn from
the history of entrepreneurship?
Hans Landström
Institute of Economic Research/CIRCLE
Lund University, Sweden
Email: [email protected]
Main Arguments
History matters!
1.
2.
3.
Some of the best and most influential works were written in
early days of entrepreneurship research, of which many are
intellectual achievements that are stimulating to read.
It is a question of knowledge accumulation
 not ”invent the wheel” everytime starting a new study.
Today we can see an increased interest in a theoretical
development of the field, and we are borrowing of concepts and
theories from other research fields …
and when borrowing from other fields we need to understand
the roots and assumptions on which these concepts and
theories are based.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Three Eras of Entrepreneurship Research
1870-1940
Economics Era
1870
1900
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
1940-1970
Social Science
Era
1950
1970 Management
Studies Era
2000
Disciplinary Focus – Advantages and Disadvantages
Integrated within main stream disciplines …
1. No need to reinvent the wheel.
2. Entrepreneurship research is required to meet the quality
criteria of the discipline (academic legitimacy).
Liberation from main stream disciplines …
1. Complex phenomena (existing theories not always optimal).
2. Research community in entrepreneurship (tacit knowledge).
3. Focus on the most central questions of entrepreneurship.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Three Eras of Entrepreneurship Research
1870-1940
Economics Era
1870
1900
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
1940-1970
Social Science
Era
1950
1970 Management
Studies Era
2000
Cognitive and Social Dimension of Research
Cognitive dimension of research
Including a general delimitation of and background
knowledge about the study object as well as accepted
methods and ways of reasoning.
Social dimension of research
Expressed in terms of organized forums for communication
between researchers within the field, role models, and
educational programs that provide and define the minimum
competence required of researchers within the field.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Development of Entrepreneurship Research
Take off phase
Cognitive
dimension
Social
dimension
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Growth phase
Searching
maturation
The Environment During the 1950s and 1960s
• Schumpeter (1942)
”… what we have got to accept is that the large-scale establishment has
come to be the most powerful engine of progress.” (p 106)
• Galbraith (1967)
Provided an important rationale for an economic policy oriented toward
the large corporations. He argued that innovative activities as well as
improvements in products and processes were most effeciently carried out
in the context of large corporations.
• Servan-Schreiber (1968)
Warned Europeans to be aware of The American Challenge in the form
of the ”dynamism, organization, innovation, and the boldness that
characterize the giant American corporation.”
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Social Changes in the 1960s and 1970s
- Dynamics in society (… change in industrial structure)
- Economic problems (… unemployment)
- Change in fashion (… ”small is beautiful”)
- Increased political interest (… Keynes’ ideas questioned)
Development in society
- Studies supporting
the prevailing trends
- Data bases and
data capacity
- Demand from students
- External donors
- Support programs
Cognitive aspects
Social aspects
Macro-level analysis
Small business economics
Micro-level analysis
Management studies
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
David Birch: The Job Generation Process (1979)
Birch’s contribution was that he realized that no data
were available to resolve various questions related to
job creation, and he utilized and reshaped existing data
in a way that they could be used for longitudinal analyses
(Dun & Bradstreet data base 1969-1976).
• The majority of new jobs were created with 20 or less employees – often
independent and young firms (thus, it was not the large firms that created new
jobs).
• The report (54 pages) was sold in twelve copies, but its influence was
enormous (among policy makers as well as research community).
• Considerable debate, but many of the findings have proved very robust and
have been verified in many later studies (Storey, Kirchhoff, Reynolds,
Davidsson).
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Take Off Phase – the Inflow of Researchers From
Different Research Disciplines
Pioneers – macro-level analysis (small business economics)
Job generation:
David Birch, David Storey, Catherine Armington, Marjorie
Odle, David Evans, etc.
Dynamics of
Richard Nelson, Sidney Winter, William Brock, David Evans
industries:
Robert Lucas, Linda Leighton, Bruce Kirchhoff, etc.
Innovation:
Zoltan Acs, David Audretsch, Bo Carlsson, Roy Rothwell, etc.
Regional
Giacomo Becattini, Sebastiano Brusco, Werner Sengenberger,
development:
Charles Sabel, David Storey, Ray Oakey, etc.
Pioneers – micro-level analysis (management studies)
Allan Gibb, David Kirby, Bengt Johannisson, Arnold Cooper, Charles Hofer,
Jeffry Timmons, William Bygrave, Ian MacMillan, Jeffrey Covin, Dennis Slevin,
William Gartner, Howard Stevenson, Sue Birley, William Wetzel, Edward
Roberts, Jim Curran, John Stanworth, Robert Hisrich … and many many more …
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Take Off Phase – Cognitive Dimension
Researchers picked up where social scientists left of
 searching for entrepreneurial traits and characteristics (anchored
in McClelland, Collins, et al., Smith)
•
•
Low entry field
Discovery of a new phenomenon
Churchill (1992) made an analogy to the six blind men and the elephant:
It was an unstructured exploration of the elephant – the researchers discovered
that
this animal was different, that it was composed of a number of unusual parts, and
that it was quite large.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Take Off Phase – Social Dimension
Individualism – the research community was small and fragmented
Emerging ”arenas” for entrepreneurship scholars
•
•
•
Professional organizations
ICSB 1977 (1956), ECSB 1988, Academy of Management Entrepreneurship
Division 1987 (1974)
Academic conferences
Rencontres de St-Gall 1948, and ICSB 1956, UK Small Firm Policy and Research
Conference 1979, Nordic Conference on Small Business 1980, Babson Conference
1981, RENT Conference 1987
Scientific journals
Explorations in Entrepreneurial History 1949, Internationales Gewerbearchive
1952, Journal of Small Business Management 1955, American Journal of Small
Business 1977 (ETP 1988), European Small Business Journal 1982 (today ISBM),
Journal of Business Venturing 1985, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development
1989, Small Business Economics 1989
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Development of Entrepreneurship Research
– Take Off Phase
Cognitive
dimension
Social
dimension
Take off
Growth
phase
phase
Explorative driven
Practical
orientation
Pragmatic
methodology
Strong links to
society
Individualism
Pioneers
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Searching
maturation
Growth of Entrepreneurship Research
16000
Cumulative number of publications
14000
12000
10000
8000
Cum No Pub
6000
4000
2000
Publication Year
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
2007
2004
2001
1998
1995
1992
1989
1986
1983
1980
1977
1974
1971
1968
1965
1962
1959
1956
0
Growth Phase – Cognitive Dimension
Systematic shift from an interest in the entrepreneur as an individual
(entrepreneurial traits) to contextual and processual aspects.
William Gartner, 1985, A conceptual
framework for describing the
phenomenon of new venture creation,
Academy of Management Review.
William Gartner, 1988, Who is the
entrepreneur? is the wrong question,
American Journal of Small Business.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Changing Focus in Entrepreneurship Research
(Bygrave & Hofer, 1991)
Key questions:
Traditional focus
New focus
Characteristics
of the entrepreneur
Characteristics
of the process
- Who becomes
- What’s involved in perceived
entrepreneurs?
opportunities effeciently?
- Why do people
- What are the key tasks in successfully
become entrepreneurs? establishing new organizations?
- What characterize
- How are these tasks different from
(un)successful
managing ongoing companies?
entrepreneurs?
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Growth Phase – Social Dimension
• Organized forums for communication (eg. 44 English-language refereed
scientific journals).
• Role models and ideals (eg. 277 endowed chairs in the US).
• Educations programs in entrepreneurship (eg. more than 2,200 courses in
entrepreneurship and small business in the US, and an increased number of
Ph D programs). (Katz, 2003).
Conclusion
A rather advanced social structure for entrepreneurship research, and
probably the social dimension has developed faster than the cognitive
dimension of entrepreneurship research (descriptive and fragmented – potpurri
of research [Low, 2001], mosaic of issues [Zahra, 2005], ”we are getting more
pieces of the puzzle but no picture is emerging” [Koppl & Minniti, 2003]).
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Development of Entrepreneurship Research
- Growth Phase
Cognitive
dimension
Social
dimension
Take off
Growth
phase
phase
Explorative driven Phenomenon and
empirical driven
fragmentation
Policy orientation
Practical
orientation
Pragmatic
Improved
methodology
empirical
methodology
Strong links to
society
Individualism
Pioneers
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Strong links to the
topic
Social infrastructure
(Bounded)multidisciplinary
Searching
maturation
A New Change – the Domain of
Entrepreneurship Research
Sankaran Venkataraman and Scott Shane
Entrepreneurship is a scholarly field that seeks
to understand how opportunities to bring into existence
”future” goods and services are discovered, created,
and exploited, by whom, and with what consequences.
(Academy of Management Review, 2000)
Domain discussion
1. Domain approach
2. Integrative approach
3. Multi-research approach
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Search for Maturation – Cognitive Dimension
1. A realization that entrepreneurship is a complex,
heterogeneous and multi-level phenomenon
– Contextualizing entrepreneurship
+ topics (corporate, social, etc.)
+ spatial (different countries)
– Specific knowledge (Cornelius et al., 2006) and specific
language (Karlsson, 2008)
– From fragmentation to specialization  emerging ”research
circles” (ETP, 2006)
2. The return of economics and psychology (cognition)
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Search for Maturation – Social Dimension
450
400
350
N of articles
300
Business & Management
250
Economics
Sociology
Psychology
200
133 other subfields
150
100
50
0
1950
1960
1970
1980
Publication year
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
1990
2000
2010
Development of Entrepreneurship Research
- Searching Maturation
Take off
phase
Cognitive
dimension
Growth
phase
Explorative driven Phenomenon and
empirical driven
fragmentation
Practical
Policy orientation
orientation
Pragmatic
Improved
methodology
empirical
methodology
Social
Strong links to
Strong links to the
dimension society
topic
Individualism
Social
infrastructure
Pioneers
(Bounded)multidisplinary
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Searching
maturation
Stronger theory
orientation
specialization
Knowledge orientation
Widening of
methodological
approach
Strong links to the
domain
Cognitive development
Emerging ”tribes”
What Can We Learn From History?
1. Influential works and intellectual achievements  role
models
Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research
1996 David Birch
2001
1998 David Storey
2003
Zoltan Acs
David Audretsch
Giacomo
Becattini
Charles Sabel
William Baumol
1999 Ian MacMillan
2004
Paul Reynolds
2000 Howard
Aldrich
2005
William Gartner
1997 Arnold Cooper 2002
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
2006
Israel Kirzner
2007
The Diana
Project
2008
2009
Bengt
Johannisson
Scott Shane
What Can We Learn From History?
2. Knowledge accumulation
•
•
Empirical and descriptive knowledge that help us understand the
phenomenon (the importance of entrepreneurship, the complexity and
heterogeneity of the entrepreneurship, etc.), and it is a necessary step in
order to build theory effectively, i.e. a deep understanding of the issues
and practices involved improves the validity, sophistication and power
of theoretical models developed.
Shows the importance of relevance in research. Early scholars (the
pioneers) had a clear connection to entrepreneurs and to society
(practice and policy).
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
What Can We Learn From History?
3. Increased theoretical interest in entrepreneurship
research
•
•
Theory-driven methodologies/sampling (Davidsson, 2008)
 Test theories not only describe reality.
Borrow and invent (Zahra, 2007)
 Good groundwork  when borrowing from other fields we need
to understand the roots and assumptions on which these concepts
and theories are based.
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
Advices for PhD students
Learn how to write … write, write, write!
What you write is important (publications and citations more and more important)
• Make your research recognized through publications, and learn how to publish
- create your own ”voice” in papers and articles
- choose your ”conversation group” and journals (SCI)
- make your publications easy to access (home page).
… but who you know is almost as important! (researchers form social networks
and within these networks theories are developed in dialogue, through mutual
citations)
• Extend your publishing experience through collaboration with other researchers
(note least the ”elite” within the field).
• Create a social network
- peers: use for review, but also in order to increase the number of citations
- seniors: personal communication (make yourself ”known”)
- general: visibility (conferences/seminars/etc).
• Sell your ideas and publications (marketing).
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
More about the history of
entrepreneurship research
THANKS!
Landström, Hans, 2005, Pioneers in
Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Research, Yew York: Springer
ISBN 0-387-23601-5
Lunds universitet / Hans Landström
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