Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring

Abstract

Adopting a process perspective on entrepreneurship, captured by the notion of “entrepreneuring,” the emerging practice-theory approach in the social sciences is proposed as an appropriate frame of reference. Entrepreneuring as a practice is ontologically/epistemologically qualified by presenting phronesis as the relevant guiding intellectual virtue in the knowledge-creating process. A constructionist view invites different modes of coping with an ambiguous environment, including the use of analogizing and bricolage when enacting entrepreneuring by way of improvisation and personal networking. The notion of “organizing context” is introduced to grasp how collective support for entrepreneuring may be mobilized. Enactive research as an interactive way for doing field research is outlined and illustrated in order to complete the paradigmatic and theoretical arguments for a practice-theory approach to entrepreneuring with an adequate methodology.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    This aphorism and the four that follow were all written by Joseph Schumpeter and appear in Swedberg (1991), Appendix I.

  2. 2.

    For a recent account of the status of entrepreneurship research, see the special issue of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 32, Issue 2, 2008.

  3. 3.

    See Bouwen and Steyaert (1990) for a similar use of the metaphor.

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Correspondence to Bengt Johannisson.

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Bengt Johannisson is the 2008 Winner of the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research (from 2009 The Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research). This essay is the Prize Lecture given upon receipt of the Award on 17 September 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden. More information about the prize and previous winners is available at www.e-award.org.

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Johannisson, B. Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring. Small Bus Econ 36, 135–150 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-009-9212-8

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Keywords

  • Enactive research
  • Entrepreneuring
  • Phronesis
  • Practice-theory
  • Organizing context

JEL Classifications

  • L14
  • L26
  • Z17