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"Who is an entrepreneur?" is (still) the wrong question

"Who is an entrepreneur?" is (still) the wrong question
"Who is an entrepreneur?" is (still) the wrong question
The idea that there exist undiscovered entrepreneurial endowments fell into disfavor after Gartner’s (1988) “‘Who is an entrepreneur?’ is the wrong question”. However, a resurgence of the “question of the entrepreneur” suggests that advances in genetics research may be the key to discovering what makes entrepreneurs distinctive. This paper draws from Wittgensteinian philosophy to offer a novel critique regarding the search for differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. We explain that the idea that entrepreneurs are different gains credence through misleading forms of language that 1) encourage the illusion of some causal interplay between opportunities and potential entrepreneurs, and 2) overshadow the contingent nature of entrepreneurial action. We sidestep misleading forms of thought to suggest that ontological reflection on the nature of entrepreneurial agency shows why we will never discover some “entrepreneurial gene”. Equally important, this Wittgensteinian critique demonstrates the limits of empirical research for problems that fundamentally require conceptual attention – not more determined effort or advanced research methods.
2352-6734
Ramoglou, Efstratios
f3fffbf5-0f1f-46e1-93af-a13e18945610
Tsang, Eric W.K.
cf717d04-e675-469b-9f2d-91724e1055e1
William B. Gartner
Ramoglou, Efstratios
f3fffbf5-0f1f-46e1-93af-a13e18945610
Tsang, Eric W.K.
cf717d04-e675-469b-9f2d-91724e1055e1

Ramoglou, Efstratios and Tsang, Eric W.K. , William B. Gartner (2020) "Who is an entrepreneur?" is (still) the wrong question. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 13, [e00168]. (doi:10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00168).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The idea that there exist undiscovered entrepreneurial endowments fell into disfavor after Gartner’s (1988) “‘Who is an entrepreneur?’ is the wrong question”. However, a resurgence of the “question of the entrepreneur” suggests that advances in genetics research may be the key to discovering what makes entrepreneurs distinctive. This paper draws from Wittgensteinian philosophy to offer a novel critique regarding the search for differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. We explain that the idea that entrepreneurs are different gains credence through misleading forms of language that 1) encourage the illusion of some causal interplay between opportunities and potential entrepreneurs, and 2) overshadow the contingent nature of entrepreneurial action. We sidestep misleading forms of thought to suggest that ontological reflection on the nature of entrepreneurial agency shows why we will never discover some “entrepreneurial gene”. Equally important, this Wittgensteinian critique demonstrates the limits of empirical research for problems that fundamentally require conceptual attention – not more determined effort or advanced research methods.

Text
JBVI April 2020 final - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 April 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 10 April 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 May 2020
Published date: June 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439391
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439391
ISSN: 2352-6734
PURE UUID: 18e28ddf-a548-4651-becd-fe3f8c0d56be
ORCID for Efstratios Ramoglou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5134-5525

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Apr 2020 16:31
Last modified: 21 May 2020 00:34

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Contributors

Author: Eric W.K. Tsang

University divisions

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