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Www.qut.edu.au Queensland University of Technology Looking Back at 20 Years of Entrepreneurship Research: What Did We Learn? Per Davidsson Queensland University.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.qut.edu.au Queensland University of Technology Looking Back at 20 Years of Entrepreneurship Research: What Did We Learn? Per Davidsson Queensland University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Queensland University of Technology Looking Back at 20 Years of Entrepreneurship Research: What Did We Learn? Per Davidsson Queensland University of Technology Jönköping International Business School

2 Queensland University of Technology Agenda The Early Conferences What Did We Learn? The (Remaining) Challenges of ENT Research Europe vs. North America

3 Queensland University of Technology All this is said by the greatest of traitors/sinners Not RENT regular in recent years (but Babson & Academy regular) My best RENT papers not in ERD—or thanks to others I’ve been all over the place topic-wise and levels-wise I’ve explored more than I have theory-tested I have had a lead role in projects with huge heterogeneity problems… Even left the continent…

4 Queensland University of Technology The Early Conferences… Brussels 1987 Vienna 1988 Durham 1989 Växjö 1991 Budapest 1993

5 Queensland University of Technology The Early Conferences… A lot of mapping out the field –Conceptually –Empirically (extremely descriptive) Some well-known names; some long forgotten Great diversity of approaches Some interesting ‘false starts’, e.g., –Topic: entrepreneurship as career issue –Method: computer simulation, etc.

6 Queensland University of Technology 20 years—What Did We Learn? Small Firms Are ImportantNew Firms Are Important –Innovation; Job Creation; Regional development New Firms Are Important –Innovation; Job Creation; Regional development Not so much individuals with unique inborn qualities –Ind. Level:  cognition, behaviour, habituals New Firms Are Important –Innovation; Job Creation; Regional development Not so much individuals with unique inborn qualities –Ind. Level:  cognition, behaviour, habituals Environment –clusters; districts; milieux New Firms Are Important –Innovation; Job Creation; Regional development Not so much individuals with unique inborn qualities –Ind. Level:  cognition, behaviour, habituals Environment –clusters; districts; milieux Teams, Network, Social capital New Firms Are Important –Innovation; Job Creation; Regional development Not so much individuals with unique inborn qualities –Ind. Level:  cognition, behaviour, habituals Environment –clusters; districts; milieux Teams, Network, Social capital Process ‘The Opportunity’ and the Person-Venture fit …and a whole lot else, of course!

7 Queensland University of Technology 20 years—What Did We Learn? Multi-level phenomenon Complexity Heterogeneity  A Challenge to Research! Reason for theory-drivenness and methodological adaptations

8 Queensland University of Technology A Common Levels Fallacy in Entrepreneurship Research Fallacy Characteristics of individual X Creation of ONE new venture by individual X (possibly with ind Y and Z) Performance of THIS venture Conclusion: distinguish clearly between individual level research and venture or firm level research

9 Queensland University of Technology Phenomenon-driven research ‘Complete’ understanding Of the ‘entire’ phenomenon As it presents itself ‘in the real world’ Population study OR ‘thick description’ case Large, representative sample from the ‘entire population’ Include ‘all relevant variables’ / care about ‘everything’

10 Queensland University of Technology

11 Queensland University of Technology Theory-driven research Is X related to Y in the manner predicted by theory Z? We don’t care what other things may also have an effect on Y We are not particularly interested in population X in country Q at time T Current, average practice isn’t necessarily ‘right’ Experiment! Use a ‘narrow’ sample (age, gender, education) to reduce heterogeneity Study / measure a few issues WELL, rather than everything superficially Control for heterogeneity that has not been designed away

12 Queensland University of Technology A quantitative example… Baum et al., JAP, 2004

13 Queensland University of Technology A qualitative example… Shane (2000) Org. Science All cases based on SAME basic innovation Access to ALL start-ups, successful and unsuccessful Focus on narrow range of issues—role of prior knowledge Compelling; convincing results (cf. Sarasvathy; Bhave—more exploratory, but focused)

14 Queensland University of Technology Europe vs. North America North American examples…by intention 20 years of increasing North American influences…which one can have opinions about –Paradigmatically narrow –Focus on quantity, adding lines to CVs –All about packaging; ‘selling’ stories & results –Make-believe theory-drivenness

15 Queensland University of Technology Europe vs. North America BUT…the top of that iceberg produces the ‘best’, most influential, most cited research Why? Infrastructure/Institutions –Babson & FER vs. RENT & ad hoc books –AoM vs. EURAM –JBV & ETP vs. ERD & IJSB Incentives?

16 Queensland University of Technology Europe vs. North America European paradigmatic diversity—a weakness and potential strength –Building and sharing cumulative knowledge

17 Queensland University of Technology Europe vs. North America European paradigmatic diversity—a weakness and potential strength –Building and sharing cumulative knowledge Collaboration among research teams –In a maturing field it takes a combination of skills to conduct top level research and package it for top level outlets

18 Queensland University of Technology Europe vs. North America European paradigmatic diversity—a weakness and potential strength –Building and sharing cumulative knowledge Collaboration among research teams –In a maturing field it takes a combination of skills to conduct top level research and package it for top level outlets Collaboration with oneself –Stamina; building a research stream (effectuation, bricolage, bootstrapping)

19 Queensland University of Technology But a strong counter balance to the excesses of the North American system is badly needed! Let’s support RENT, ERD & other European institutions! Thank you!


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