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Many are Called, but Few are Chosen: An Evolutionary Perspective for the Study of Entrepreneurship

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Abstract

More than a decade ago, Low and MacMillan identified three elements indispensable to an understanding of entrepreneurial success: process, context, and outcomes. Since their critique, three important advances include (a) a shift in theoretical emphasis from the characteristics of entrepreneurs as individuals to the consequences of their actions, (b) a deeper understanding of how entrepreneurs use knowledge, networks, and resources to construct firms, and (c) a more sophisticated taxonomy of environmental forces at different levels of analysis (population, community, and society) that affect entrepreneurship. Although our knowledge of entrepreneurial activities has increased dramatically, we still have much to learn about how process and context interact to shape the outcome of entrepreneurial efforts. From an evolutionary approach, process and context (strategy and environment) interact in a recursive continuous process, driving the fate of entrepreneurial efforts. Thus, integrating context and process into research designs remains a major challenge. Such integration constitutes a necessary step to a more complete evolutionary approach and a better understanding of entrepreneurial success.

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*Originally published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 2001, 25(4): 41–56. Reprinted by permission of Blackwell Publishing.

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Aldrich, H.E., Martinez, M.A. (2007). Many are Called, but Few are Chosen: An Evolutionary Perspective for the Study of Entrepreneurship. In: Cuervo, Á., Ribeiro, D., Roig, S. (eds) Entrepreneurship. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-48543-8_14

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