Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances: Volume 21

Cover of Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances

Table of contents

(11 chapters)


Pages i-vii
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Pages 1-4
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In this chapter an argument is made for a clear articulation for the exclusive domain of entrepreneurship research. To date, the entrepreneurship academic community has neglected to define clear boundaries as to what distinguishes entrepreneurship scholarship from other closely related fields. It is argued here that the well-worn constructs of firm performance or success and failure of the individual entrepreneur do not provide the field the clarity of purpose and unique domain it desires. Similarly, the context of small business is not what will bring singular clarity for the field. Instead, this chapter argues that entrepreneurship research should be focused upon understanding how opportunities to bring future goods and services into existence occur.


This chapter is a reflection of how Venkataraman’s “The Distinctive Domain of Entrepreneurship Research” has influenced the field of entrepreneurship. The theory underlying the original chapter provided the first true theoretical basis for the discipline of entrepreneurship, grounded in Kirzner and Schumpeter. Its two discrete components, opportunity, and role of the individual became the basis for new approaches in empirical research and new conceptualizations of entrepreneurship theory. These components led to new approaches to concepts such as motivation, perception, and information’s role in the entrepreneurial process. The chapter revisits the three core questions raised by “The Distinctive Domain”: how opportunities arise, why do only some recognize and pursue opportunities, and what are the consequences of the pursuit of opportunities. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the impact of the original chapter in practice and academia.


Tucked in the back of Venkataraman’s 1997 work on the distinctive domain of entrepreneurship (DDE) lies a pointer to a question each individual must face when choosing to start a new venture; “is entrepreneurship worth it?” Inventorying costs associated with risk, uncertainty, and illiquidity against surpluses from financial and psychological factors unique to entrepreneurship, Venkataraman tempts readers to tally entrepreneurial returns. The authors summarize and integrate an academic study of these various cost and return components over the past 20 years using Venkataraman’s original framework. The authors find the answer to the question of “is entrepreneurship worth it?” varies with time. Researcher’s answer to the question has shifted from an early view that entrepreneurs sacrifice financial gain in exchange for soft psychological benefits to a more positive view that entrepreneurs are rewarded both financially and psychologically for the unique costs borne in the DDE. But the rewards are not immediate. In entrepreneur time, break-even emerges by gradually overcoming an initial deficit. As surpluses accrue, returns to entrepreneurs likely eventually exceed those of their wage-earning peers.


In this chapter, the authors investigate the degree to which organizational ecology (OE) had a long-term impact on the way scholars study organizational foundings. Dubbed the “rates” approach by Aldrich and Weidenmayer (1993), OE argued that organizational foundings depend on intra- and inter-population processes such as organizational density, prior foundings, and prior disbandings. It de-emphasized the personal characteristics of founders and entrepreneurs – the “traits” approach. The analyses reveal that OE had limited impact, especially after the mid-2000s. OE’s limited appeal is partially explained by its lack of influence on scholars outside its orbit of influence and/or those publishing in non-sociology journals. In contrast to OE’s slight long-term impact, the authors argue that another perspective that was attuned to environmental conditions – new institutional theory (NIT) – has had greater success in influencing scholars studying foundings. The authors speculate that OE’s impact was ultimately limited because it was embedded in a relatively exclusive scholarly community, compared to NIT’s more inclusive scope.

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This chapter looks at the development of the original contribution “Toward a Theory of Entrepreneurial Competency” in the 1995 volume of the Advances series. The reflection discusses the conceptual and career issues underlying that original work. What follows is a reflection on the impact of the original chapter and on the key concept of the competency of learning itself. Among major ideas that emerge from this analysis is that entrepreneurship education helps individuals develop self-concepts and the social roles of entrepreneurs, that the intersection of personality, learning style, and learning effectiveness could be a useful focus of future work, that reflection is an under-developed competency, that success-related competencies need to be the focus going forward, that the atemporality of entrepreneurship and competencies should be tested, that critical entrepreneurship competencies may be industry-specific, and that the relative weights of competencies also need to be considered.


This chapter begins with a reflection on the call for investigating how entrepreneurial competencies are developed (Bird, 1995) in the context of university-based entrepreneurship centers. Through clarifying the nature of entrepreneurial competencies and applying a social constructivist perspective of learning, it is proposed that effective nurturing of entrepreneurial competencies for university students through entrepreneurship centers shall be based on five key characteristics; namely, active experimentation, authenticity, social interaction, sense of ownership, and scaffolding support. The chapter contributes to the literature through establishing a link between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial competencies in the context of university-based entrepreneurship centers, which have become an increasingly popular way for promoting entrepreneurial development. The practical implications on nurturing entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship centers are discussed, together with the directions for further research. This chapter is designed as a refection upon Bird’s original article articulating the concept of entrepreneurial competencies. In this chapter, the author outlines how entrepreneurial competencies can be developed through education programs, specifically via entrepreneurship centers.


Pages 163-163
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Cover of Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN