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  • Series: Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series x
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Eddy Laveren, Robert Blackburn, Ulla Hytti and Hans Landström

This introduction provides an overview and commentary on the main chapters in the book. The book presents contemporary examples of European research that embrace both rigour and relevance. In doing so, the book demonstrates that both rigour and relevance is alive in entrepreneurship research. Many of the following chapters address agendas that are influenced by pragmatic questions as much as theoretical insights, showing that engaged research begins at the agenda-setting phase rather than an add-on at the end. Additionally, the volume showcases interesting new work in the area of entrepreneurial behaviour and mindsets, intrapreneurship, family businesses, the role of prior experience or its absence as a resource, funding and time allocation amongst freelancers. Whilst the chapters are focused on specific issues, they all illustrate that theoretically grounded research can have implications for practice and policy.

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Johan Wiklund

Bennis and O’Toole (2005) note that business schools have lost their way, generating research that is less and less relevant to practitioners. Fortunately, the author believes that the outlook for entrepreneurship research might be more positive. The author proposes a model for generating interest in research by making a distinction between the number of people that care and how much people care. The first step is to ensure that one single person cares deeply about the research. If the researcher is deeply emotionally involved, it is easier to make other people involved. The next step is to test the ideas on others. The researcher should be able to find a way that those who care about the researcher also care about the research, show interest and listen. Relevance in entrepreneurship research is not an option. It is a matter of survival.

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Hans Landström

Traditionally entrepreneurship and small business research has been regarded as a practical and relevant research field, providing knowledge to be used to solve various societal problems. As the field is becoming more and more institutionalized in the academic system, scientific rigour in research has been emphasized at the expense of relevance. In the chapter the authors strives to show that producing research with practical relevance does not conflict with the production of scientifically rigorous research. On the contrary, it is important that the implications formulated for external stakeholders are well rooted in rigorous scientific research.

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Piritta Parkkari and Karen Verduijn

In this chapter, the authors have introduced three recent conversations within entrepreneurship research that diverge from ‘mainstream’, functionalist entrepreneurship research: Critical Entrepreneurship Studies, Entrepreneurship as Practice and the Radical Processual Approach. They have used the question of “Why do some become entrepreneurs and others don’t” as an illustrative tool for bringing out the conversations’ interrelations, idiosyncratic foci and ways of asking questions. All in all, the authors emphasize that it is not a matter of what approach to entrepreneurship is the ‘best’, but rather about understanding what makes them unique, and how they can complement each other, ultimately to provide spaces for novel, radical, complexified and nuanced ways of understanding and researching entrepreneurship phenomena.

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Annalisa Sentuti, Francesca Maria Cesaroni and Serena Cubico

This chapter reviews family firm (FF) studies in the business and management literature, aiming to explore and outline the state of the art with regards to women’s involvement in family businesses. Through a structured literature review the authors analyzed 81 academic contributions in 2000-2017 and categorized them based on year, authors’ and research location, academic journal of publication, methodological approach, and impact. Three main results emerged. First, the study demonstrates that publications on women in family businesses more than tripled from the first nine-year phase to the second nine-year phase. Second, while academics from North America dominated early research in the 1990s, since 2000 an increasing and relevant contribution has come from European researchers. Third, concerning the topics being addressed, four main themes were identified: women in FFs; succession; women-owned FFs and female entrepreneurship; and copreneurial ventures.

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Kelly G. Shaver and Immanuel Commarmond

As broad interest in entrepreneurship increases, one can find researchers, educators, policy-makers, and even investors speaking about the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’. But what, exactly is an entrepreneurial mindset? And how can it be measured effectively? The modern view of an entrepreneurial mindset considers cognitions and behaviours as well as more enduring personality dispositions. The challenge, of course, is to identify the dimensions that matter. Based on a broad literature review, 76 separate descriptions of aspects that could affect entrepreneurial behaviour were identified. Elimination of overlaps produced a list of 37 different constructs. Using the existing literature, the authors produced 116 items that were pilot tested on 400 individuals (217 females, 183 males) in South Africa. The present chapter describes the scale development in detail.

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Christine Blanka, David Rückel, Stefan Koch and Norbert Kailer

The purpose of this chapter is to gain insights on individual intrapreneurial orientation and hence examine the intrapreneurial potential resting in IT students, as they are prime possible future technology intrapreneurs by their education. Technopreneurship has gained in importance, but due to its focus on independent technology entrepreneurs, research overlooks the value of intrapreneurial employees. An online survey was conducted, and hypotheses referring to intrapreneurial orientation and personal initiative were tested on a sample of IT students in Austria. Results reveal interesting findings concerning IT students’ intrapreneurial orientation and highlight their potential as future technology intrapreneurs. By investigating intrapreneurial orientation, the research offers a holistic view on possible entrepreneurial behaviour and underlines the relevance of intrapreneurial potential already resting in students. In addition, by combining the technological and intrapreneurship contexts, interesting insights on IT students as future technology intrapreneurs are provided.

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Hanna Rydehell, Anders Isaksson and Hans Löfsten

New technology-based firms (NTBFs) face resource scarcity, especially in their early start-up phase. To perform well, these firms need to utilise existing resources and position themselves at par with other firms in order to acquire the resources they lack. This chapter examines the effects of NTBFs’ human capital and external relations on early performance (sales and employment). Although small firms possess some bundles of resources to develop themselves, NTBFs in particular need to access resources that often lie outside corporate boundaries. A survey was administered in 2016 to 401 small and young Swedish NTBFs (with an employment mean of 1.80 and an average age of 28.3 months). The authors show that founders’ business experience positively affects early business performance. They also conclude that in their very early stages, NTBFs may benefit from utilising their human capital and external relations.

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Karin Hellerstedt, Caroline Wigren-Kristoferson, Maria Aggestam, Anna Stevenson and Ethel Brundin

There is increasing recognition of the importance of prior industry experience in the process of opportunity recognition and venture creation. Prior industry experiences may also represent limitations and cause lock-in effects that impose limits on the innovative height of new products and services. Questions arise about how the entrepreneur’s disembeddedness in the industry may contribute to radical innovations in a specific new industry. Using three cases as illustrative examples, the authors aim to enhance understanding of the impact of industry disembeddedness on the opportunity creation process. The findings demonstrate that being disembedded from the new industry creates an opportunity to activate past connections and transfer specific resources across spheres. They also show how building embeddedness from a disembedded position becomes instrumental for business activity that provides resources and contributes to radical innovation within a specific industry.

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Amélie Wuillaume, Amélie Jacquemin and Frank Janssen

This chapter develops and tests a set of hypotheses concerning how the tone of entrepreneurial narratives affects funding success. The authors first test their propositions on a sample of projects seeking resources on a donation and reward-based crowdfunding platform (Ulule). Their results suggest that money providers on such a platform prefer narratives characterized by a relatively high emotional language. Results also indicate that the community (social) sense displayed has a particularly high influence and even dominates the influence of the emotional tone. The authors also examine the influence of the same variables on a lending- and equity-based platforms (MyMicroInvest). The results indicate that funding success is enhanced by a cognitive tone and that the sense of community stays an indicator of success. Backers on donation- and reward-based platforms seem to be motivated by the emotional dimension while funders on lending- and equity-based platform seem to be guided by cognitive considerations.