Idiosyncratic Milieus of Entrepreneurial Research: The Need for Comprehensive Theories

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Ian C. MacMillan

Ian C. MacMillan

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Jerome Katz

Saint Louis University - Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Date Written: 1992

Abstract

Considers one approach to the selection and adoption of new research tools and theories for topics in entrepreneurship which have proved difficult to study. Eight topics are identified as challenging to study because the person or event is difficult to find. Included in these topics are consistently entrepreneurial firms, habitual entrepreneurs, and emergence of new industries. The difficulty in finding these events or people is a result of their obscurity. This obscurity can be explained through two factors: event history of the entrepreneurial action and event privacy. An examination of other fields of study which must analyze obscure events is used to identify methods that may be useful in the study of entrepreneurship. Focus is on the field of epidemiology, but it is suggested that the fields of criminology, history, archeology, and paleontology might also be helpful. There are two types of ideas that can be adopted from these other fields: theories and methods. The adoption process can be direct, or it can be metaphorical; this analysis supports the metaphorical adoption of ideas. Five lessons from these other fields are presented: (1) need to have hypotheses waiting to be tested; (2) need to become comfortable using models and homomorphs; (3) need to have common measures; (4) need to build competing theories; and (5) need for comprehensiveness. Using the approach identified, the study of entrepreneurship can move toward theory building. (SRD)

Keywords: Epidemiology, Entrepreneurship research, Theories, Research opportunities, Academic research, Adoption of ideas, Research methods

Suggested Citation

MacMillan, Ian C. and Katz, Jerome, Idiosyncratic Milieus of Entrepreneurial Research: The Need for Comprehensive Theories (1992). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505855

Ian C. MacMillan (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Jerome Katz

Saint Louis University - Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business ( email )

3674 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
United States
314-977-3864 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://slu.edu/eweb

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