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A Project-based View of Entrepreneurship: Serial Entrepreneurs and Collective Action
Umeå School of Business & Economics, Dept of Business Administration, Umeå University, SE-901 87 UMEÅ, SWEDEN.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4663-9913
Umeå School of Business & Economics, Dept of Business Administration, Umeå University, SE-901 87 UMEÅ, SWEDEN.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5479-2563
2001 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One important concern of the ongoing debates within entrepreneurship research is the tendency of operationalising entrepreneurship as enterprise start-ups. However, some researchers have noted that entrepreneurship and enterprise start-up are not always connected - entrepreneurial acts do not always result in a formal enterprise and not all enterprises are the result of an innovative entrepreneurial act. Moreover, the individual entrepreneur is usually identified from a single start-up, which means that serial entrepreneurship and/or other entrepreneurial acts in their life paths are neglected. If an enterprise start-up is an entrepreneurial act or not should be regarded as context-dependent; to start a traditional enterprise in an established and legitimate industry should not be regarded as ”entrepreneurial” as starting an innovative one in a context characterised by scepticism and hostility.

 

In addition, there is also a tendency in society to organise innovative processes in terms of projects rather than as enterprises, and there are also research results indicating that some individuals handle enterprise start-ups as a sequence of projects in which the entrepreneur goes on to new start-ups when the enterprise has been established on the market. To summarise, there are several reasons for analysing both entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial acts in terms of project-based work. The aim of the paper is thus to discuss and argue for a project-based view of entrepreneurship, which means that the ongoing entrepreneurial acts of the individual is studied in terms of time-limited courses of action.

 

Our analysis of a number of narratives from individuals working in creative projects (theatres and musicals, regional development and independent schools) shows that their entrepreneurship is most evident both in terms of idea generation and project organising, and that a lot of non-standardised project work is in fact entrepreneurial acts according to most definitions. These individuals also tended towards serial entrepreneurship, where projects, endeavours in private life, community work and also enterprise start-ups were mixed over time. In order to further our understanding of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, it seems most important to study series of entrepreneurial acts in the life path of an individual rather than each act as a single event. An additional conclusion from these empirical data is that these entrepreneurial acts cannot always be ascribed single individuals only. To realise innovative ideas, it is often necessary that several individuals are involved in terms of teams or social networks. To put forward an creative and/or innovative idea should in itself be regarded as an entrepreneurial act (speaking is also an act), but to transform it into successful action teamwork is required where issues concerning practical implementation, organising, marketing etc must also be subject to entrepreneurial thinking and action.

 

From this, we conclude that entrepreneurship should be studied in terms of serial projects in the life course of individuals. In order to understand this process we argue that qualitative studies, of narrative character, are necessary. By such an approach, the concept of entrepreneurship is extended from enterprise start-up as an empirical phenomenon to the individual and collective creative and innovative acts that individuals and groups of individuals perform during their lives in different dimensions, forms and societal sectors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-262710OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-262710DiVA, id: diva2:1362239
Conference
ESBRI workshop “Moving entrepreneurship”, June 10-12, Djurhamn
Note

QC 20191021

Available from: 2019-10-18 Created: 2019-10-18 Last updated: 2019-10-21Bibliographically approved

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