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Über dieses Buch

In this book, the authors present a challenge for future research to build a stronger, more complete understanding of entrepreneurial phenomena. They argue that this more complete picture of entrepreneurial phenomena will likely come from scholars who undertake at least some trailblazing projects; from scholars who broaden the range of research questions, the potential outcomes of entrepreneurial action, and the selection and combination of research methods; and from researchers who avoid the endless debates about the margins of the field and its sub-fields or about whether one theoretical or philosophical lens is superior to another. This book offers suggestions for future research through a variety of topics including prosocial action, innovation, family business, sustainability and development, and the financial, social, and psychological costs of failure. It promises to make an important contribution to the development of the field and help academics, organizations, and society make useful contributions to the generation of entrepreneurial research.

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Open Access

Chapter 1. The Importance of Trailblazing Scholarship for Understanding Entrepreneurship

Recently, the co-authors of this book met in Blairgowrie, Australia. Dean Shepherd showed Holger Patzelt the Back Beach where he had spent much of his youth. Dean recalled his childhood taking the trek from his house along the path through the coastal reserve to the rock pool and surf:

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 2. Researching the Generation, Refinement, and Exploitation of Potential Opportunities

Most research opportunities are characterized by uncertainty, and scholars generally have numerous options when thinking about how to contribute to and energize a field of study. In this chapter, we argue that future contributions to the field of entrepreneurship will stem from considering the entrepreneurial process as a series of steps to generate and refine opportunities through developing, engaging, and transforming communities of inquiry. In addition, this process involves a dynamic and recursive pattern of activities immersed in entrepreneurial practice that goes beyond financial goals and engages the heart as much as the mind. We believe viewing the entrepreneurial process in this way will help researchers gain a deeper understanding of how entrepreneurial action can meet some of the most challenging issues of our time, thereby enabling important contributions to the field of entrepreneurship.

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 3. Researching Entrepreneurial Failures

Due to the highly uncertain nature of pursuing new business opportunities (Knight, 1992; McMullen & Shepherd, 2006), failure is a rather common outcome of entrepreneurial endeavors (Brüderl, Preisendörfer, & Ziegler, 1992; Shane, 2009; Wiklund, Baker, & Shepherd, 2010). Take family businesses as an example. They comprise a significant share of all businesses (up to 90% in the USA [Dumas, 1992; Heck & Trent, 1999; Kets de Vries, 1993]), but nearly 70% of family businesses fail to make it through the second generation, and roughly 90% fail to survive through the third generation (Kets de Vries, 1993). Similarly, established firms often undertake entrepreneurial projects as part of corporate entrepreneurship initiatives to create new products, enter new markets, explore new technologies, and/or build new businesses (Zahra, Jennings, & Kuratko, 1999). Like businesses, however, entrepreneurial projects are basically experiments with unknowable outcomes; there is an air of uncertainty (McGrath, 1999). Thus, sporadic or even repeated entrepreneurial project failure is an inevitability in firms practicing corporate entrepreneurship (Burgelman & Välikangas, 2005). In fact, Boulding and Morgan (1997) estimated that 35–45% of all new products fail (Boulding and Morgan, 1997). Further, investigating 95 venturing units in corporations with headquarters in eight countries worldwide, Campbell, Birkinshaw, Morrison, and van Basten Batenburg (2003) reported no successful examples among firms exploring “new leg” ventures or among internal corporate ventures started with the sole purpose of pursuing growth opportunities in novel (to the firm) product-market domains.

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 4. Researching at the Intersection of Innovation, Operations Management, and Entrepreneurship

Although innovation is a critical component of entrepreneurship (e.g., innovation is a dimension of firms’ entrepreneurial orientation [Covin & Slevin, 1989]), it seems that the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship run in parallel, with little interaction occurring between the two. While it is unfortunate there has not been more interaction, cross-fertilization, and the co-production of knowledge, the current situation represents a research opportunity—a research opportunity that we begin to explore in this chapter. Innovation refers to the creation of a new product, process, or service that an organization has created for the market; it represents the commercialization of an invention, where invention is an “act of insight” (Li & Atuahene-Gima, 2001, p. 1124). Innovation has been found to lead to enhanced performance in new ventures (Capon, Farley, & Hoenig, 1990; Li & Atuahene-Gima, 2001), superior firm performance (Hull & Rothenberg, 2008; Thornhill, 2006), and dynamic firm capabilities (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997). Not surprisingly, innovation scholars have been interested in understanding what makes some firms more innovative than others. Indeed, the innovation literature has produced a long list of antecedents (for a meta-analysis, see Damanpour, 1991) including inter-firm cooperation (Shan, Walker, & Kogut, 1994), network position (Tsai, 2001), market orientation (Atuahene-Gima, 1996), and industry structure (Teece, 1996). The corporate entrepreneurship literature has also found that innovation outcomes are associated with growth (Burgelman, 1984), higher profitability (Zahra & Covin, 1995), and competitive advantage (Covin & Miles, 1999). (We note this latter point to reinforce our earlier point that while innovation and corporate entrepreneurship cover much of the same ground, one makes little reference to the other and vice versa [for an exception, see Morris, Kuratko, & Covin, 2010].)

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 5. Researching Entrepreneurships’ Role in Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is arguably the most significant issue of today. Each day, we hear accounts of ozone depletion, climate change, and the destruction of biodiversity as well as details about the detrimental and potentially lethal consequences these issues have for living species (e.g., IPCC, 2007; United Nations, 2004). Scholars have argued, however, that entrepreneurial action can help this dire situation by preserving ecosystems, neutralizing climate change, decreasing environmental degradation and deforestation, improving farming practices, providing more access to fresh water, and maintaining biodiversity (e.g., Cohen & Winn, 2007; Dean & McMullen, 2007). Furthermore, in developing countries in particular, such entrepreneurial actions can positively contribute to education, productivity, socioeconomic status, physical health, and self-reliance at both the individual and societal levels (e.g., Wheeler et al., 2005). Finally, while research has shown that entrepreneurial action creates economic gains for investors, entrepreneurs, and economies (e.g., Easterly, 2006), we need more sustainable entrepreneurship research investigating how entrepreneurial action can serve as a mechanism for preserving nature and ecosystems while also providing economic and non-economic gains for investors, entrepreneurs, and societies at large.

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 6. Researching at the Intersection of Family Business and Entrepreneurship

The family business and entrepreneurship literatures have had some exchange in the past; however, this exchange has been largely limited in scope (e.g., the addition of a variable from one field into the other), borrowing in nature (e.g., the transferred variable maintains its initial meaning, form, and measurement), and uni-directional (i.e., contributing minimally back to the source literature). Nevertheless, studies combining these two literatures have made important contributions to both fields. For example, researchers have contributed to our understanding of family firms’ performance by exploring firms’ entrepreneurial orientation (e.g., Casillas, Moreno, & Barbero, 2009; Cruz & Nordqvist, 2012; Lumpkin, Brigham, & Moss, 2010; Naldi, Nordqvist, Sjöberg, & Wiklund, 2007; Short, Payne, Brigham, Lumpkin, & Broberg, 2009). Even with these important contributions, however, research could go further, investigating the possibility of a different level and form of exchange, one that has a broad scope and involves blending (Oswick, Fleming, & Hanlon, 2011) and bricolage (Boxenbaum & Rouleau, 2011). Importantly, this new exchange should provide the opportunity to contribute to both the family business and entrepreneurship literatures.

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 7. Researching the Inter-Relationship of Health and Entrepreneurship

Health is inarguably a significant topic in people’s everyday lives, and unsurprisingly, scholars have taken great interest in exploring this issue. For example, marketing scholars have explored the health implications of “supersizing” food purchases (Haws & Winterich, 2013), the impact of health claims on product preference (Aschemann-Witzel & Hamm, 2010), and price sensitivity to healthy versus unhealthy food (Talukdar & Lindsey, 2013); operations scholars have explored capacity expansion in outpatient clinics (LaGanga, 2011), quality management practices and processes in hospitals (Goldstein & Iossifova, 2012), and the performance of health information technology (Queenan, Angst, & Devaraj, 2011); management scholars have explored the relationship between employee stress and health (Bono et al., 2012), the effects of sleep deprivation on workplace deviance (Christian & Ellis, 2011), and learning by surgical teams (Vashdi, Bamberger, & Erez, 2012); and strategy scholars have explored multi-national firms’ responses to disasters (Oh & Oetzel, 2011), the effects of diversification in the medical-device industry (Wu, 2013), and the effect of board characteristics on firms’ strategic change in the healthcare industry (Goodstein, Gautam, & Boeker, 1994).

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 8. Researching Entrepreneurial Decision Making

Entrepreneurship scholars have dedicated substantial time to exploring how and why entrepreneurs think differently from both non-entrepreneurs (e.g., Busenitz & Barney, 1997; Mitchell, 1994; Mitchell et al., 2002) and other entrepreneurs (e.g., Baron, 2004, 2006; Mitchell et al., 2007). Studies have also emphasized that the entrepreneurial context is characterized by high uncertainty, ambiguity, time pressure, emotional intensity, and high risk, which can have substantial impact on how entrepreneurs evaluate specific situations and make decisions (e.g., Baron, 2008; Busenitz & Barney, 1997; Mullins & Forlani, 2005). This literature on entrepreneurial decision making is important because the strategic decisions firm leaders make have a major impact on the firm’s future direction and performance (Carpenter, Geletkanycz, & Sanders, 2004; Hambrick & Mason, 1984).

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

Open Access

Chapter 9. Conclusion

We are excited about the state of entrepreneurship research. The community of entrepreneurship researchers has grown rapidly over the last couple of decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the quality and variety of entrepreneurship research as well as a dramatic increase in the number of entrepreneurship-specific journals, and entrepreneurship research now has greater prominence in disciplinary and functional journals (e.g., the Academy of Management Journal). As a result, there has been a boom in the generation of knowledge about entrepreneurial phenomena. This is all great news. Although we, as a community, can bask in the glory of this relatively recently acquired prominence, this is not the approach recommended in this book. Rather, we can apply the saying “dance with the one who brung you” to suggest that being entrepreneurial in our research is what has led to the field’s successes and that we need to continue to do so to maintain (or increase) the current trajectory. It is not a time to rest on our laurels but to push ahead. As March (1991) noted, after a period of time, exploration begins to drown out exploitation, which creates an unproductive imbalance for the entity. We hope this book provides a counterbalance to the tendency toward exploitation in entrepreneurship research by providing what we believe are some interesting research explorations.

Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt


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