Alternative Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Research
Posted: 9 Nov 2009
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: Suggested Citation