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Theoretical foundations of Swedish entrepreneurship and small-business research
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET).
Växjö University.
2001 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 225-248Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our main purpose is to test the proposition that Swedish entrepreneurship and small-business research has established a theoretical platform of its own over the last quarter of a century. In order to cope with that challenge we have to provide answers to some basic questions, for example: (i) What theoretical basic elements can be identified in Swedish entrepreneurship and small-business research? (ii) Can we detect shifts in the theoretical basis over time? (iii) To what extent does the research accumulate to form a unified body of knowledge? References used in doctoral theses within this field of research between 1970 and 1995 constitute the basis for the analysis. The results of the study show that the research field is deeply rooted in the sphere of business administration, primarily in organisation and decision theory, and in a strong qualitative research tradition. The field is still very fragmented — it is difficult to identify any “core literature” and the number of different journals used in the research is large. However, during the last decade some interesting changes have taken place: (i) interest has grown among researchers in the field to seek the roots of the subject, which means that more references are made to the “classical works” in the research field, (ii) the academisation of the field has increased, as manifested in the growing use of scientific journals, as against official publications and “grey research literature”, and (iii) theoretical linkages to other fields of research (apart from business administration) have grown stronger. The results indicate greater specialisation and more attention paid to nuances in the research due to clearer definitions of important concepts and the generation of a vocabulary and models specific to the field. Also, the field is in the process of distancing itself from a purely technical approach to knowledge. However, we will still reject the initial proposition that the research field has developed a robust theoretical platform. The citation analysis provides an emergent pattern in the development of entrepreneurship and small-business research. In the seventies the research was empirically orientated, with a view to describing the phenomenon and making it visible in different contexts. The eighties were characterised by the positioning of entrepreneurship and small-business research within business administration, whereas the nineties have been marked by an attempt to create a separate identity as a distinct academic field of study. This is reflected in a growing interest in the origins of this field of research and a broadening of the research beyond the frame set by business administration. We believe that a favourable platform for a future specialisation of research challenges and integration of lines of thought is thereby created, which in turn will help the research field to mature and to develop its own theories and methodologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Pergamon , 2001. Vol. 17, no 2, p. 225-248
Keywords [en]
Entrepreneurship, Sweden, Small business, Research, Theory
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-3453DOI: 10.1016/S0956-5221(99)00030-5Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-0346487335OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-3453DiVA, id: diva2:293461
Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2009-12-01 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
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