The Quality of Entrepreneurial Performance
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The poverty of information on so many aspects of the study of British entrepreneurship has not inhibited economic historians from making assessments of the quality of entrepreneurial performance. Attention has mainly been directed to the closing decades of the nineteenth century, but a proper appreciation necessitates a much broader comparative view. To assert, as Aldcroft did in 1964, that ‘… entrepreneurial initiative and drive were flagging, particularly before 1900’ rests partially on the assumption that ‘the British entrepreneur had lost much of the drive and dynamism possessed by his predecessors of the classical industrial revolution’ [227: 114]. But is this assumption fully justified? And, furthermore, does a consideration of ‘drive and enthusiasm’ constitute an adequate basis for judgement? Surely, other criteria, such as knowledge and skill, are involved?
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