1 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Robert Gordon University3 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Towards a new image of entrepreneurship in a time of financial, economic and socio-spatial crisis
Objectives The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the concept of entrepreneurship in light of the current financial and environmental crisis and its socio-spatial impact. Building on Hudson’s analysis of production in late-capitalist societies, we identify problems inherent in the dominant opportunistic image of the entrepreneur as a profit-oriented individual that discovers and exploits opportunities. In order to address these problems we create a “new image” of entrepreneurship that focuses on “re-sourcing”. Prior Work The paper builds from a neo-marxist analysis of late-capitalist production by Ray Hudson. According to Hudson the task of creating sustainable economic development requires a critical re-appraisal of the economy, productivity, development, to which we propose adding entrepreneurship. Hudson identifies important problems with current patterns of production including its lack of grounding in material reality, lacking emphasis on environmental externalities and an impoverished conceptualization of spatial relations. Comparing this analysis with the dominant opportunistic image of the entrepreneur, leads us to formulate a critique of this image. In formulating an alternative we build on current streams of research in the entrepreneurship field, emphasizing resourcefulness (e.g. bricolage and effectuation). Approach The paper takes a conceptual approach, but grounds the conceptual discussions in current examples of entrepreneurial activities that display a re-sourcing nature. Results The paper presents a “new image” of entrepreneurship as re-sourcing. The concept of re-sourcing emphasizes the dual meaning of the word resource as both a stock of supply and strategy or action adopted in adverse circumstances. Re-sourcing thus signifies a shift in focus from opportunities to resources as well as a particular strategic attitude towards resources. Re-sourcing as strategy thus means sourcing resources from new places as well as sourcing activities to new ends, transgressing the singular economic imperative. Implications Preliminary work has generated implications for research, practitioners and education. Firstly, the concept of re-sourcing points to new research questions as well as new units and levels of analysis for entrepreneurship research. It also suggests the value of taking a new and broader approach to resource acquisition and combination for practicing entrepreneurs that may wish to inscribe themselves in the movement towards more environmental and social responsibility. Finally, it suggests new topics, methods and motivations for educating future entrepreneurs to act towards more sustainable entrepreneurial activities. Value This paper integrates insights from economic geography and entrepreneurship to create a novel image for entrepreneurship suitable to address the current state of crisis. This image provides relevant implications for research in the field of entrepreneurship and practicing entrepreneurs.