1 International Business Centre, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN2 Department of Business and Management, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN3 The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN4 TBRP - Theory Building Research Programme, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN5 Helsinki University of Technology
In this paper, we describe the process of building of grounded theory. We have an emphasis on the field of entrepreneurship: we describe and analyse current grounded theory research in entrepreneurship and point out directions and potential improvements for future research. A basis for our assessment of the current state of grounded theory research in entrepreneurship and for our suggestions for the future is provided by an analysis that we have conducted of recent grounded theory-based entrepreneurship research that has been published in top-tier research journals. Our paper has two goals. First, we wish to provide an explicit paradigmatic positioning of the grounded theory methodology, discussing the most relevant views of ontologies and epistemologies that can be used as alternative starting points on conducting grounded theory research. Currently, different paradigms are used as the basis of grounded theory inquiry in entrepreneurship. While the paper introduces our postpositivistic approach to grounded theory, we acknowledge the existence of other approaches and carefully locate our approach in relation to them. As an important part of this discussion, we take a stand on how to usefully define “grounded theory” and “case study research.” Based on this discussion, we elaborate the overlapping areas of grounded theory research and case study research and make suggestions for the usage of these terms. Second, we seek to firmly link our discussion to the potential value of grounded theory research to the field of entrepreneurship and the need of this field of further grounded theory.
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IECER Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in a United Europe, 2005