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Entrepreneurship theory and the poverty of historicism

Patrick J. Murphy (Department of Management, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 10 April 2009




The author applies methodological concepts from The Poverty of Historicism to contemporary research in the area of entrepreneurship. This paper aims to explain why current theoretic models do not adequately explain entrepreneurial phenomena and to present outlines of a distinct entrepreneurship research paradigm.


The author examines the essay from the perspective of a historian and then summarizes its concepts. Next, the author reviews the current state of entrepreneurship research and theory and applies concepts from the essay to its contemporary challenges. Finally, the author presents five implications.


The five implications are that entrepreneurship research should include designs that predict failure, strive to develop theory that is distinct from other areas, emphasize novel arrangements of empirical elements that are also novel, utilize nonparametric statistics and case studies more fully, and push for a paradigmatic shift.


The contribution of this paper is useful to entrepreneurship scholars interested in developing and distinguishing their research area in a substantial and lasting way alongside other established research areas in the domain of business studies.



Murphy, P.J. (2009), "Entrepreneurship theory and the poverty of historicism", Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 109-133.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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