Entrepreneurship – new perspectives

In theory as well as in practice, entrepreneurship is a field that is increasingly important to societal development. Entrepreneurship research has been given an increasingly visible role in this development; by studying the conditions and implications of entrepreneurship, it has provided politicians and other decision makers with much needed knowledge. At the same time, there are several basic assumptions in these existing research traditions of entrepreneurship that are usually not made explicit. First, it departs from entrepreneurship as something that can be objectively and neutrally measured, predicted and stimulated. That is not always the case since people tend to interpret both external structures and their own personality in most different and changing ways. Second, there is a tendency of always embody entrepreneurship into single individuals, even though most entrepreneurial action is carried out by several individuals in social interaction. Third, entrepreneurship is ususally empirically defined as newly registered companies, which excludes a wide variety of entrepreneurial actions that happen within existing organisations and/or not resulting in the formal creation of firms. Fourth, most research are focused on traditional masculine industries, implying a neglect for entrepreneurial actions performed by women and ethnic minorities and also for many of the new ventures within culture, media and former public services such as education and health care. All in all, this points at a need to renew entrepreneurship research, both through applying new theoretical perspectives and through the inclusion of new empirical bases. In this stream of research, we intend to do both, departing from a basic assumption on entrepreneurship as constructed by people in social interaction – interactive entrepreneurship.

Theoretically, interactive entrepreneurship implies a social constructionist perspective on entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is thus viewed as constructed in social interaction, as innovative social processes organized by people in actor networks. This means a focus on collective action rather than on individual characteristics, on inter-subjective interpretations of reality rather than on institutional frameworks, and on innovation and creativity rather than on formal organisations.

Empirically, such an enlarged understanding will be based on entrepreneurial processes focused around culture in different forms. Based on empirical studies from independent schools and the music industry, we analyse how entrepreneurial processes are made possible, initiated and developed. This means analysing roles, decision making, networks, idea generation and basic views of the venture in order to guide an alternative way, an interactive perspective, of viewing entrepreneurship in theory and in practice.

Publications

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2003) ‘A project-based view of entrepreneurship: Towards action-orientation, seriality and collectivity.’ In Chris Steyaert & Daniel Hjorth (eds.) New movements in entrepreneurship: pp. 86-102. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2005) ”Hultsfredsfestivalen: Så osannolik att den inte borde finnas.” Social Ekonomi, No 4.2004-1.2005: pp. 12-16.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2006) ”Entrepreneurship as boundary work: Deviating from and belonging to community.” In: C. Steyaert & D. Hjorth (eds.) Entrepreneurship as Social Change: 210-230. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2007) ”Senmodern nyföretagsekonomi: Entreprenörskap som social konstruktion.” In: D. Kärreman & A. Rehn (eds.) Organisation: Teorier om ordning och oordning: pp. 195-211. Malmö: Liber.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2007) Konstruktion av entreprenörskap: Teori, praktik och interaktion. Örebro: Forum för Småföretagsforskning.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2008) ”Woman, teacher, entrepreneur: On identity construction in female entrepreneurs of Swedish independent schools.” In: I. Aaltio, P. Kyrö & E. Sundin (eds.) Women Entrepreneurship and Social Capital: A Dialogue and Construction: pp. 193-223. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2009) “Social constructionism and entrepreneurship: Basic assumptions and consequences for theory and research.” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol 15, No 1: pp. 25-47.

Lindgren, M. & Packendorff, J. (2011) ”On the temporary organizing of entrepreneurial processes: Applying a project metaphor to the study of entrepreneurship”. Revue de l’Entrepreneuriat, Vol 10, No 2: pp. 45-67.