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The Language of Entrepreneurship in Social Sciences

Aspect Network
January 24, 2021

The Language of Entrepreneurship in Social Sciences

Aspect Network

January 24, 2021


  1. Aspect ENT CoP – November 2020 Workshop The Language of

    Entrepreneurship in Social Sciences
  2. Research Aims • Assess the status and understanding of entrepreneurship

    in the social sciences. • Point at gaps and approaches to build a dialectic within the social sciences to encourage more multi-disciplinary embrace of entrepreneurial activities. • Understand the role that language plays in the engagement of students in entrepreneurship: examples from Aspect members.
  3. 1-2 minutes to type in the chat: •Your own short

    (one sentence) definition of “entrepreneurship” •Five words you associate with “entrepreneurship” Quick Thoughts!
  4. • Assumption of a set/uniform definition of entrepreneurship = wrong!

    • Definitions and conceptualisations are as diverse, ambiguous and complex as entrepreneurial activities in themselves. • The importance of language goes beyond communication: • Discourse analysis studies view language as not only communicating an idea or reality, but also as constructing, producing and reproducing the idea in itself. • The language of entrepreneurship (e.g. terms, definitions, visions) not only communicates entrepreneurship as a practice, but directly constructs and shapes entrepreneurship as a practice (Berglund and Johansson, 2007). • A discourse analysis study of academic publications on entrepreneurship by Berglund and Johansson (2007) shows that: • Entrepreneurship is spoken of (and constructed) as something inherently good and also inherent in the human spirit/ability towards creativity and innovation. • There is dominant idealised / stereotypical view of the “entrepreneur”, automatically ascribing to this individual assets and qualities like networking, social capital, resources, efficiency, managerial etc. • Issues: these discourse can alienate people who might fill ill-suited and/or who can’t resonate with the highlighted skills/qualities/assets. Literature Review: The Importance Language in Entrepreneurship
  5. • Entrepreneurial language, and discourse in general, changes over time.

    • On common words over the years: ▪ “Opportunity/ies” remains dominant ▪ “Marketing” has grown ▪ “Bootstrap” has decreased ▪ “Big data” and “social media” have emerged • Notable shifts in overall discourse: ▪ From just emphasizing “financial value” to also considering “social value” ▪ From centring the individual to underscoring “communities” / ”ecosystems” Literature Review: Status of Entrepreneurship Language Source: Roundy, P.T. and Asllani, A., 2019. Understanding the language of entrepreneurship. Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences.
  6. • Original rise of “entrepreneurship” as a set concept was

    in the 80s in the USA (Pawar, 2013). • Reagan era: pro-market values, economic liberalisation trends, individualism. • Potentially exported abroad through development finance (re: structural adjustment era) and/or through globalisation. • The leading social sciences involved in entrepreneurship (i.e. economics) can underestimate the importance of contextualised practical knowledge (and by extension, contextualised practical language) (Swedberg, 2000). • Social sciences like anthropology can provided more grounded knowledge (and by extension, language) that resonates with entrepreneurs on-the-ground and their lives. • Cultural factors, structural conditions and social values shape engagement and interest in entrepreneurship, thus will/should shape its communicative language too. • Issue: these trends, factors, conditions and values are not experienced homogenously within countries or local communities (i.e. diversity & exclusion issues). Literature Review: The Importance of Social, Cultural and Political-economic Trends
  7. Parkinson and Howorth (2018) find that: • Social entrepreneurs in

    the UK reappropriate and repackage the mainstream language of entrepreneurship. • Avoid fully adopting the language of efficiency, business discipline, managerial competence and financial independence. • Align their language with moral, social and local concerns, as well as collective action, geographical community and local power struggles. Rindova, Barry and Ketchen (2009) argue that: • Entrepreneurship functions as an “emancipatory process”, and not just as a profit-seeking activity. • Includes: • Pushing to change and create new economic, social and cultural environments. • Seeking autonomy and authoring, and making declarations. • Goals: • Break free from authority. • Remove perceived constraints. Literature Review: Alternative Discourses in Entrepreneurship Implications: How do students speak about entrepreneurship themselves? Do they use mainstream language/discourse, or their own? How does this affect promotional efforts? How does it vary across universities?
  8. Aspect Partner Example: Sussex Start-up

  9. Aspect Partner Example: LSE Generate

  10. Any questions

  11. • Berglund, K. and Johansson, A.W., 2007. Constructions of entrepreneurship:

    a discourse analysis of academic publications. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy. • Parkinson, C. and Howorth, C., 2008. The language of social entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship and regional development, 20(3), pp.285- 309. • Pawar, P., 2013. Social sciences perspectives on entrepreneurship. Social Sciences, 3(9). • Roundy, P.T. and Asllani, A., 2019. Understanding the language of entrepreneurship. Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences. • Swedberg, R. ed., 2000. Entrepreneurship: The social science view. Oxford: Oxford University Press. References