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A perfect couple? Institutional theory and entrepreneurship research

Qinghua Zhai (School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China)
Jing Su (School of Business Administration, Shanghai Lixin University of Finance and Accounting, Shanghai, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 11 March 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019




This paper aims to evaluate the progress made in understanding the impact of multi-level institutions on entrepreneurship.


Based on scientific articles published between 1992 and 2017, the authors take a unique focus on both institutional theory applied and research topics of this area. Bibliometric method and systematic literature review method are used.


The results demonstrate that although institutional theory is well prepared for entrepreneurship context operating at different levels, the major knowledge foundation used predominantly focuses on macro and meso level. When it comes to research topics, entrepreneurship is often simplified as the founding of new venture, and the unique venture founding process has rarely been explored.


This paper is the first to provide a full picture of the multi-level institutions and their consequences on different kinds of entrepreneurial activities. The authors’evaluation of this research area also points out directions for future study.



Funding: This research is funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant number 71602117 and 71502063.


Zhai, Q. and Su, J. (2019), "A perfect couple? Institutional theory and entrepreneurship research", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 616-644.



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