Emancipating the 'Who am I?' Question in Entrepreneurship
Paper in proceedings, 2019
Questions we care about
Entrepreneurship and thus entrepreneurship education need some fixing. In a time when entrepreneurship is infiltrating everyone and everywhere, we need to ask how this is done for better and not for worse. Many people in society do not find the stereotypic image of an entrepreneur fitting for them. How do we avoid them being alienated by a narrow version of entrepreneurship that simply is not for them? Could we offer tools and terminologies that can answer the question “Who am I?” in relation to entrepreneurship? This paper takes the stance that the stereotyped concepts of “entrepreneurship” and “entrepreneur” will not do the job. Therefore, faith is put into deepening our understanding of “being and becoming entrepreneurial”. Top-cited research using the term“entrepreneurial” is reviewed. An interpretivist “from within” perspective is applied when answering the main question: How can the term “entrepreneurial” help in breaking away from narrow and stereotyped conceptions of entrepreneurship, without diluting an entrepreneurial identity into being almost anything for anyone?
Literature on stereotypes in entrepreneurship and on previous attempts to broaden entrepreneurship are reviewed, such as the concept “enterprise education” and a framework for entrepreneurial competencies. A systematic literature review on the use of the term “entrepreneurial” is conducted, reviewing 250 articles that use the term “entrepreneurial” in their title. The nine most common uses are reviewed more in-depth. 45 articles are reviewed in relation to what the authors mean when they use the term “entrepreneurial”. In the analysis, an interpretivist perspective is applied to the identified meanings of “entrepreneurial”, aiming to develop new answers to the question “Who am I?” in relation to entrepreneurship.
250 publications that have the word “entrepreneurial” in their title link the adjective to 99 nouns. Focus is simultaneously on many different aspects of being entrepreneurial. Unit of analysis varies considerably; individuals, teams, organizations, regions and nations. Also, most of the publications explore “entrepreneurial” phenomena as something happening to people or firms “out there” rather than as a more personalized entrepreneurial identity. The term “entrepreneurial” is found to be weakly claimed, making it more open for new understandings than “entrepreneur” or “entrepreneurship”. Analysis of findings leads the authors to propose four cornerstones for a more emancipatory understanding of being entrepreneurial, presented as a framework of value-for-others, agency, novelty and learning to guide entrepreneurial people.
There is a strong potential in offering understandings and tools for being and becoming entrepreneurial that emancipates beyond a narrow view of entrepreneurship as economic value appropriation though new ventures. The proposed framework focuses on value creation and is societal (social, ecological and economic value creation in all kind of contexts).
This paper, to our knowledge, offers a first systematic review of literature focusing on “entrepreneurial”. It also presents a novel, easy to understand and useful framework for what it means to be “entrepreneurial”.