Sep 4, 2011

The focus of entrepreneurial research (part II)

Regarding Foss and Klein's article to which I linked before. I should add a few more points:

A key contribution of Douglass North is the importance of the distinction of formal versus informal institutions. Entrepreneurs working in different countries face different formal and informal institutions. One would expect these geographical differences in institutions affect skills and approaches to do business. For example, some research I have done in Almolonga, Guatemala shows that Protestantism has highly influenced entrepreneurship (macro and micro entrepreneurship), to be sure, Weber's protestant ethic seems to play a very important role. On the other hand, and in a striking contrast, some interviews to street vendors I conducted recently in Qingdao, China, showed three very interesting pattern: 

1) Street vendors did not believe in God, they "believe in themselves," and hard work was the only way, according to them, to improve their conditions and send their kids to school. Entrepreneurs in Almolonga and entrepreneurs in Qingdao work very hard but for different reasons, at least partially. 

2) They were very optimistic about the future of the economy of China, optimism seem to be key, which is consistent with the evidence (see this paper, for example), and 

3) I perceived a high degree of trust and social capital. 

Some street vendors I interviewed in China might not be entrepreneurs according to some theories, but they do make decisions, are self-employed, and are creative and innovative. 

My point is that some literature, like Foos and Kein's article, is trying to identify some essential characteristic of the entrepreneur, but cross country differences are not being explored. Although this might not be the authors' goal.

I do think that Foss and Klein's opens new avenues of research, specially considering "judgement," for example, one can ask: what type of judgment prevails? Is it causal, Bayesian, confirmatory, disconfirmatory? How is this distinction important to explore entrepreneurial success or failure? And, again, what is the importance of the environmental, religious, and geographical context for this classification. This might probably lead to a discussion on expectations.   

No comments:

Post a Comment