Edited by G. Page West III, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Kelly G. Shaver
Chapter 1: Legitimacy Across the University: Yet Another Entrepreneurial Challenge
G. Page West III, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Kelly G. Shaver Introduction It is hard enough to build a strong entrepreneurship program within a school of business. For a quarter of a century those who pursued such programs have faced questions about legitimacy. Is the field of entrepreneurship a unique domain of teaching and research ( Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Busenitz et al., 2003)? Are the rigor, methods and cumulative nature of entrepreneurship research consistent with those observed in other academic disciplines (Aldrich and Baker, 1997; Low, 2001)? Has entrepreneurship research and teaching had real impact (Bygrave, 1994)? Is there consistent pedagogy for teaching the subject matter and is there consistent and rigorous training available to produce quality instructors (Brush et al., 2003)? Often perceived as lacking both sociopolitical legitimacy and cognitive legitimacy (Aldrich and Fiol, 1993), many entrepreneurship academics have been thought of as ‘fools rushing in’ – by others who question their wisdom in devoting time and energy to a field that does not enjoy status as a ‘discipline’ (Ogbor, 2000), as well as sometimes even by themselves. Yet during this period entrepreneurship programs in business schools first blossomed, then experienced explosive growth. Entrepreneurship courses are now taught in more than 2000 universities in the US (Cone, 2008) and over 225 business schools offer majors or concentrations in the field (Katz, 2005). There are now a number of PhD programs conferring terminal degrees in entrepreneurship and many more in which entrepreneurship is a central facet of doctoral studies (Katz, 2007)...
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