Missing the point? finding contextual detail in entrepreneurship and small firm scholarship

Dominic Chalmers, Eleanor Shaw

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The trajectory of entrepreneurship scholarship can be characterized by a trend towards functionalist approaches. This has arguably led to findings that trade the contextualization of entrepreneurial processes for abstracted theoretical generalizations. We propose a methodological response that draws on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis to form the theoretical basis of a more nuanced empirical conception of the entrepreneur in situ. Our approach addresses current epistemological concerns in entrepreneurship scholarship by prioritizing the practical knowledge and reasoning skills of the entrepreneur. Additionally the proposed methodology provides a solution to an analytical problem confronting scholars who must select from myriad potentially relevant contexts to incorporate into analysis. We conclude our article by identifying some research opportunities that are enabled through adoption of an ethnomethodology/conversation analysis perspective. We hope that scholars may expand upon, complement and challenge current conceptualizations of entrepreneurial behavior through this method.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15761
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • conversation analysis
  • entrepreneurship
  • methodology

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