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Dimo Dimov

This book chapter discusses the study of entrepreneurship as a process. It highlights the complexity of this topic through the questions and challenges it raises as well as multiplicity of perspectives and topics that it invites. It provides a meta map of possible conversations about entrepreneurial process, in which each conversation is a configuration of an academic stance and certain aspects of entrepreneurial process. The map aims to help identify scholarly communities, facilitate conversations, and articulate research contributions.

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Dimo Dimov

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter reflects on the nature of scholarship as operating in a domain of (theoretical) knowledge, and of concepts as the building blocks of the knowledge domain. The realms of theory and practice are connected through processes of denotation of objects by concepts and of reference of concepts to objects. We retain experience in concepts and use them to give meaning to new actions. Scholarship is thus entwined in a cycle of thinking.

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter focuses on entrepreneurship as an academic subject. It discusses the challenge of defining its boundaries and revisits the familiar debate on whether entrepreneurship is just a phenomenon to be explained by other knowledge domains or is its own distinct domain. To the extent that an action becomes ‘entrepreneurial’ when it is oriented towards changing the world in a particular way, the ‘cockpit’ for such change has an irreducible first-person ontology. At the same time, the action is inherently social as it affects and is affected by others.

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter explores the boundaries of academic disciplines as defined by the thought models they use. In this sense, the domain of entrepreneurship is intersected by many academic disciplines, each focusing on certain aspects of it and blurring out others. This poses a question of loyalty for the academic scholar – of whether to understand entrepreneurship as a holistic realm of practical reasoning or explain entrepreneurship by organizing facts within a specific theoretical model.

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter examines the relationship between scholar and entrepreneur. It recasts the question of loyalty in terms of the tensions between precision and scope in defining the basic building blocks of our inquiry. The values underpinning the inquiry are then defined in terms of a relationship with an external reality (objectivity) or contribution to a particular community (solidarity). They invite us to look at entrepreneurs and see their past, or with entrepreneurs and explore their future. This creates an important distinction between descriptive and design science as modes of inquiry, each pursuing different utility.

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter presents a framework of scholarly inquiry, highlighting four distinct styles and contributions: theoretical, integrative, craft and clinical. They reflect two fundamental choices that scholars can make in approaching the subject of study: (1) isolating specific aspects of entrepreneurship in search of precision versus merging different viewpoints into a holistic case of entrepreneurial practice; and (2) engaging in descriptive science to establish and relate facts about the world as it is versus engaging in design science to produce instrumental knowledge for enhancing the art and skill of entrepreneurship.

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Dimo Dimov

This chapter discusses how the framework of scholarly inquiry can be put in motion. It portrays each of the four styles of inquiry as an intersection of two calibrating forces: isolating/merging and representing/coping. Navigating all four styles ensures the connection of the partial and the whole, of theory and practice. It turns inquiry into an ever-expanding spiral, whereby each style plays a distinct role in keeping the cycle in motion.

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Dimo Dimov

What makes entrepreneurship distinct is that it retains the hope for a different, better future. This hope is expressed in the multitude of ongoing efforts to change the world. Entrepreneurs open things up when there is closure; they use imagination when there is soothing certainty. By creating new means, disclosing new values and communicating new meaning, they create new ways of being. If a scholar is dedicated to knowledge, and knowledge is about remaining ‘true’ to its object, then entrepreneurial scholarship is not about capturing the flame of entrepreneurship, but about freeing it, unleashing it, keeping it alive.