Entrepreneurship is an activity with far-reaching economic and cultural implications. Research seeking to understand the cognition and behavior of entrepreneurs is devoting increasing attention to how entrepreneurs construct and utilize discourse. However, word-level analysis of the specific language used by entrepreneurs has not received significant attention. The purpose of this paper is to identify the words that comprise entrepreneurship discourse and describe how word-usage has changed over time.
To examine the language of entrepreneurship, the authors use modified MapReduce algorithms in conjunction with text mining techniques to construct a longitudinal corpus of approximately 2.5m words. The authors identify the most frequently used words in the entrepreneurship lexicon and then use content analysis to chart the evolution of word-use.
The findings reveal that entrepreneurs’ lexicon is complex and fluid. The most commonly used words suggest new trends in entrepreneurship.
The findings and methodological procedures contribute to research on entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial process and, specifically, to work on entrepreneurial discourse, language-use and new venture communication. The findings also have implications for entrepreneurs and policymakers.
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