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The interplay of context and entrepreneurship: the new frontier for contextualisation research

Abstract

Contextualisation research in entrepreneurship is on the rise. Scholars generally view it positively, as contextualisation allows for a better understanding of the bigger picture, whilst also concerns are voiced. However, contextualisation may lead to an overly fragmented field and its possible disintegration. This calls for ‘the emergence of sensible approaches to contextualisation that provide guidance in balancing its benefits and costs’ as reported by Welter et al. (Small Business Economics 52(2):319–330, 2019) which is the challenge we address in this Special Issue. More specifically, we argue that an investigation of the construction and enactment of contexts provides a path to better understand the identified tension. The aim of this Special Issue ties in with increasing calls in the entrepreneurship literature for going beyond agent centric views towards accounts that theorise the interconnections between agency and structure. Taken together, the articles in this special issue contribute to (1) a stronger grounding for entrepreneurship theories and concepts; (2) a more balanced conceptualisation of both agency and context; (3) a shift from the ‘standard model’ of entrepreneurship; and (4) context sensitive entrepreneurship methodologies and approaches. We end with identifying further research avenues.

Plain English Summary

Contextualisation research in entrepreneurship is on the rise. With contextualisation we aim to understand the external environmental factors impacting entrepreneurial activities. Many scholars believe it provides a better understanding of the bigger picture, whereby others highlight that contextualisation may lead to an overly fragmented field and its possible disintegration. In this Special Issue, we argue that by investigating ‘doing contexts’, which are the making, unmaking, and remaking of sites for entrepreneurial action, we help to tackle this challenge. Taken together, the articles of this Special Issue contribute to (1) a stronger grounding for entrepreneurship theories and concepts; (2) a more balanced conceptualisation of both agency and context; (3) a shift from the ‘standard model’ of entrepreneurship; and (4) context sensitive entrepreneurship methodologies and approaches.

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Acknowledgements

David Urbano acknowledges the financial support from the projects ECO2017-87885-P (Spanish Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness) and 2017-SGR-1056 (Economy & Knowledge Department, Catalan Government), and ICREA under ICREA Academia programme.

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Ben-Hafaïedh, C., Xheneti, M., Stenholm, P. et al. The interplay of context and entrepreneurship: the new frontier for contextualisation research. Small Bus Econ (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-023-00770-6

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