Alternative Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Research

Posted: 9 Nov 2009

See all articles by Peter L Jennings

Peter L Jennings

Arizona State University (ASU)

Lew Perren

University of Brighton

Sara Carter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2005


This introduction to a special issue of Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice (March 2005) outlines the content of the issue that includes information on the new paradigms and methods of entrepreneurship research. The conceptual orientation for the issue and this introductory essay is Burrell and Morgan's classic text, Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis (1979). Burrell and Morgan create a taxonomy of approaches to research based on the axes of subjective versus objective and sociologies of radical change versus regulation. A matrix yields four paradigms for the analysis of social theory: Radical humanist, Radical structuralist, Interpretive, and Functionalist. The editors argue that most entrepreneurship research and theory is located within the Functionalist paradigm. The introduction describes how articles were solicited for this special issue so that they would exemplify research outside the Functionalist paradigm. Their goal was not a "scientific revolution," resulting in the discrediting of the Functional paradigm, but acceptance of paradigmatic pluralism that fosters inter-paradigmatic debate. There are four articles in the special issue: "News and Nuances of the Entrepreneurial Myth and Metaphor: Linguistic Games in Entrepreneurial Sense-Making and Sense-Giving," by Louise Nicholson and Alistair R. Anderson; "Government Discourses on Entrepreneurship: Issues of Legitimization. Subjugation, and Power," by Lew Perren and Peter L. Jennings; "The Social Construction of Entrepreneurship: Narrative and Dramatic Processes in the Coproduction of Organizations and Identities," by Stephen Downing; and "Schumpeter's Legacy? Interactions and Emotions in the Sociology of Entrepreneurship," by David Gross. The four papers represent two features that differentiate "extraordinary research" from "normal science" in entrepreneurship: (1) the authors have found difficulty relating their work to existing research published in the field, and (2) the authors demonstrate awareness of methodology and reflexivity beyond the Functionalist paradigm that dominates the top journals. (TNM)

Keywords: Research, Theories, Research methods, Sociology, Schumpeter, Joseph A.

Suggested Citation

Jennings, Peter L and Perren, Lew and Carter, Sara, Alternative Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Research (2005). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Peter L Jennings (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Lew Perren

University of Brighton ( email )

Mithras House
Lewes Road Small Business Research Unit
Brighton BN2 4AT
+441 273 642979 (Phone)
+441 273 642980 (Fax)

Sara Carter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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