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Defining the Field of Research

In: Business and Management

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DEFINING THE FIELD OF RESEARCH IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
CHIRSTIAN BRUYAT
´ Universite de Grenoble, Grenoble, France

´ PIERRE-ANDRE JULIEN
` ` ´ ´ Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, ` Tros-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

Although the field of entrepreneurship is recognized as being of fundamental importance for our economy, and although many researchers throughout the world have turned their attention to it, there is, as yet, no agreement as to the research object in this scientific field. Empirical research has described the phenomenon from different standpoints. It has also shown that the phenomenon is much more complex and heterogeneous than was thought in the 1980s. However, to advance knowledge and produce tools that are useful in practice, it has become necessary to establish theories that will generate more productive empirical research. Some effort at definition is therefore needed. The definition proposed here takes a constructivist stance, and is at the service of a research project— that of understanding or forecasting the entrepreneurial act and its success or failure, and defining more accurately the environmental conditions favourable to that act. Here, the scientific object studied in the field of entrepreneurship is the dialogic between individual and new value creation, within an ongoing process and within an environment that has specific characteristics. This definition emphasizes the fact that we will not understand the phenomenon of entrepreneurship if we do not consider the individual (the entrepreneur), the project, the environment and also the links between them over time. It shows the entrepreneur to be not simply a blind machine responding automatically to environmental stimuli (interest rates, subsidies, information networks, etc.), but a human being capable of creating, learning and influencing the environment. This standpoint is consistent with the...

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