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Entrepreneurship: Exploring the Knowledge Base

  • Economics


Entrepreneurship research has a long tradition and since the 1980s the field has grown significantly. In this study we identify the ‘knowledge producers’ who have shaped the field over time and their core entrepreneurship research works. A unique database consisting of all references in twelve entrepreneurship ‘handbooks’ (or state-of-the-art books) has been developed. The chapters in these handbooks were written by experts within the field, and it can be assumed that the most frequently cited references represent ‘core knowledge’ with relevance to entrepreneurship research. From our analysis, it appears that entrepreneurship is a rather changeable field of research, closely linked to disciplines such as ‘management studies’ and ‘economics’. Over time, the field has become more formalized with its own core knowledge, research specialities and an increasing number of ‘insider works’. However, it is still based on some fairly old theoretical frameworks imported from mainstream disciplines, although during the last decade we have seen the emergence of a number of new field-specific concepts and theories. We argue that to successfully develop entrepreneurship research in the future, we need to relate new research opportunities to earlier knowledge within the field, which calls for a stronger ‘knowledge-based’ focus. We would also like to see greater integration between the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation studies in the future.

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