21. Entrepreneurs versus entrepreneurial
Book chapter, 2021
Not long ago, entrepreneurship was considered something exotic only achieved by a precious few. Currently, entrepreneurship is basically everywhere, leaving people to figure out what entrepreneurship implies in their contexts. Many feel alienated by stereotyped definitions that do not match their lived experience, as ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ struggle to be separated from their narrow origins. Popular press and economic theory have made both terms inseparable from the creation of new economically successful firms. From desired outcome it follows that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are thus exclusively about having an identity and displaying behaviors that help reach this goal. Stereotyping then occurs in three ways: (1) through stipulating a certain outcome (successful firm) in a certain (economic) context; (2) by specifying certain behaviors, such as staying in control and appropriating, to achieve this outcome; and (3) by imposing an identity and mindset suitable for being this firm-creating and firm-controlling entrepreneur. If entrepreneurship and entrepreneur is all about creating economically successful new business, what about the entrepreneurial? A Google search of ‘entrepreneurial’ gives the impression that this adjective is mainly about existing in a way that results in the creation of a successful firm. However, along with this interpretation, there are also broader understandings, indicating a wider conceptualization including being innovative, creative, resourceful and adaptable, and embedded in different contexts other than in new firms. However, the broadening of entrepreneurship has also been met with critique that entrepreneurship then risks being diluted into meaning almost anything for anyone.