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Entrepreneurial learning among practices: aesthetic and sensible knowledge in the life trajectory of entrepreneurs

Sérgio Vogt (Positivo Business School, Positivo University, Curitiba, Brazil)
Yara Lucia Mazziotti Bulgacov (Positivo Business School, Positivo University, Curitiba, Brazil)
Sara R.S.T.A. Elias (Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 9 September 2021

Issue publication date: 1 March 2022




Using the concept of knowing-in-practice (KinP), and drawing from current understandings of aesthetic and sensible knowledge within organization studies, this study explores how the entrepreneurial learning (EL) process unfolds over time, throughout the lives of startup founders, well before entrepreneurial action takes place.


Using a life histories approach, 25 interviews were conducted with the founders of 18 startups. Additional 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted with other startups' founders, focusing on thematic stories. Data were analyzed using abduction and narrative analysis.


Although each entrepreneur's history is unique, the authors show that entrepreneurs' lives are generally a texture of practices, resulting in aesthetic–sensible knowledge that is developed as entrepreneurs participate in various social practices. This includes KinP episodes where perceptive-sensorial faculties are fundamental for entrepreneurs to perceive the world, recognize/create opportunities and launch a business.

Research limitations/implications

The historical approach did not allow the authors to witness firsthand the practices and KinP episodes that participants verbalized. Regardless, the results show that aesthetic and sensible knowledge provide a fruitful lens for investigating EL while highlighting the indissoluble relationship between practice and learning.


Although the senses have been recognized as fundamental for learning in organizations, entrepreneurship scholars have yet to explore the aesthetic and sensory processes involved in EL. The primary contribution of this paper is to develop a new understanding of the situated nature of EL as a process that starts well before entrepreneurial action occurs, stemming from entrepreneurs' experiencing of certain practices and the aesthetic and sensible knowledge they build over their life trajectory.



This paper forms part of a special section “Entrepreneurial Learning: The implications of Social Relationships and the Practice of Entrepreneurship”, guest edited by Allan Macpherson, Lisa Anderson, Kiran Trehan and Dilani Jayawarna.

The authors thank the Entrepreneurship as Practice (EaP) research community for their insightful comments provided on an earlier draft, especially the participants of the Paper Development Workshop at the 4th Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Conference in Nantes, France. The authors also appreciate the thoughtful guidance and encouragement of the Guest Editor Lisa Anderson, as well as the incredibly constructive feedback of the anonymous reviewers.

Funding: The authors acknowledge financial support from the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business to present and develop an earlier draft of this work at the 4th Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Conference in Nantes, France.


Vogt, S., Bulgacov, Y.L.M. and Elias, S.R.S.T.A. (2022), "Entrepreneurial learning among practices: aesthetic and sensible knowledge in the life trajectory of entrepreneurs", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 283-305.



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