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Entrepreneursheep and context: when entrepreneurship is greater than entrepreneurs

Johan Gaddefors (Department of Economics, Rural Entrepreneurship Group, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden)
Alistair R. Anderson (Centre for Entrepreneurship, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explain how context shapes what becomes entrepreneurial.


The paper is part of a longitudinal study over ten years, an ethnographic work including interviews, participating in meetings and shadowing. Texts and voices boiled down to transcripts and notes were sorted in NVivo. The empirical material was presented as a simple, short story, with the aim to question established assumptions and relations. The paper propose context as the unit for analysis, instead of entrepreneurs and outcomes. This opened up the scale from a narrow individualism to a much broader appreciation of the entrepreneurship as shaped by social factors.


The paper provides insights about how context determines entrepreneurship. It is not simply the context in itself, but the things that are going on in the context. What entrepreneurship does is to connect and thus create a raft of changes. The paper suggests that to depart from context as the unit of analysis will avoid the objectification of entrepreneurship and open up for discussing the becoming of entrepreneurship. The case illustrates how entrepreneurship is an event in a flow of changing circumstances. Entrepreneurship is formed from the context itself, rather than being individual or social; entrepreneurship appears simultaneously to be both. Entrepreneurship can and does exist in multiple states regardless of the observer and the observation.


This paper fulfils an identified need to learn more about how entrepreneurship and context interact. It illustrates how context is more engaged in the entrepreneurial process than entrepreneurship theory acknowledges.



Gaddefors, J. and Anderson, A.R. (2017), "Entrepreneursheep and context: when entrepreneurship is greater than entrepreneurs", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 267-278.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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