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Where did interpretivism go in the theory of entrepreneurship?


  • Packard, Mark D.


I argue that an interpretivist philosophic approach has been neglected in modern entrepreneurship research, but that such an approach may be most appropriate to the individualist nature of entrepreneurship. Realist meta-theories suffer from issues of paradigm incommensurability that may be at the heart of the present difficulties in defining and delineating the field of entrepreneurship. Interpretivism offers a potentially groundbreaking philosophical alternative that highlights the source of entrepreneurship in individuals rather than in abstract markets, emphasizing emergence rather than presuming opportunity existence. In this paper I defend interpretivism against its critics and revisit the nature of entrepreneurship through this lens. I show that process theories of entrepreneurship are aligned with interpretivist meta-theory, and that their explicit adoption of an interpretivist foundation may better facilitate theoretical progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Packard, Mark D., 2017. "Where did interpretivism go in the theory of entrepreneurship?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 536-549.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:5:p:536-549
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2017.05.004

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    1. repec:eee:jobuve:v:9:y:2018:i:c:p:75-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jobuve:v:9:y:2018:i:c:p:39-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jobuve:v:9:y:2018:i:c:p:60-64 is not listed on IDEAS


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