Places are not like people: the perils of anthropomorphism within entrepreneurial ecosystems research

Ross Brown, Suzanne Mawson, Augusto Rocha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) has quickly established itself as a major focus within regional development research. A key conceptual framing commonly adopted by scholars theorising about the growth and evolutionary dynamics of EEs is via anthropomorphised life-cycle models. In this debate article we offer a critique and argumentation as to why the validity of this approach is spurious and contestable. Arguably, life-cycle based models overly simplify these complex spatial entrepreneurial phenomena and convey the temporal evolution of EEs as a simplistic, linear, deterministic and path dependent process. Despite the seductively simplistic appeal of life-cycle models, places are not like people and the uncritical adoption of such crude anthropomorphic framings potentially weakens this research field, at the same time running the risk of mis-informing policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-396
Number of pages13
JournalRegional Studies
Volume57
Early online date16 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • life-cycles
  • path dependence
  • public policy

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