Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 319–330 | Cite as

Three waves and counting: the rising tide of contextualization in entrepreneurship research

  • Friederike WelterEmail author
  • Ted Baker
  • Katharine Wirsching


Although the field was initially slow on the uptake, contextualization of entrepreneurship research has come a long way in recent years. Arguably, entrepreneurship demands contextualization more than many other fields, because not only is entrepreneurship broad and diverse in its scope but it is also frequently about the creation of differences. In this paper, we outline three recent and overlapping waves of contextualization in the entrepreneurship field. The discussion has moved from challenging the “standard” or Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship by considering the why, what, and how of entrepreneurship (first wave) towards considering more subjective elements and the construction and enactment of contexts (second wave), through challenging us to deepen our theorizing by broadening the domain of entrepreneurship research (third wave). The articles in this special issue on “Entrepreneurship in Context” represent this third wave. Taken together, they illustrate entrepreneurial diversity and comprehend entrepreneurship and innovation as everyday activities. We end with a brief consideration of where the rising tide of contextualization may take the field during the next few years.


Context Everyday entrepreneurship Contextual entrepreneurship Contextualizing entrepreneurship 

JEL classifications

L26 M13 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friederike Welter
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ted Baker
    • 3
    • 4
  • Katharine Wirsching
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.University of SiegenSiegenGermany
  3. 3.Rutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  4. 4.University of Cape Town Graduate School of BusinessCape TownSouth Africa
  5. 5.University of AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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