Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

The Study of Entrepreneurship in Ireland

Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

The Study of Entrepreneurship in Ireland

Article excerpt

Introduction

'Why is it that our people are unemployed or are driven to seek the means of living by periodical emigrations to fulfil the lowest office in another land? Why is it that our harbours are bare of ships, are rivers undisturbed by the bustle of industry and intercourse, our fields producing about a third of what they might supply? that where activity exists, or that progress is now being made, it is to be traced, with but few exceptions, to the introduction of the natives of the sister kingdom into whose possession there thus pass the most valuable domains of enterprise which this country offers, whilst the Irish population rests in the lowest grade, and but rarely manifest the qualities which the time requires.'

This quote is from a review of Ireland's industrial resources by Sir Robert Kane, the Professor of Chemistry at the Apothecaries' Hall, in 1844 (p. 412). With some 'modernisation' to reflect the changing nature of industry, higher levels of educational attainment, and the development of a managerial class in Ireland, aspects of this opening quote could be applied to many periods of Irish history, including the current, post 'Celtic Tiger' time. Many reviews of Ireland's industrial and economic development have argued that as a country, our relative industrial performance has been poor (National Economic & Social Council, 1982). The historian Joe Lee argued that 'it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Irish economic performance has been the least impressive in Western Europe, perhaps all of Europe, in the twentieth century' (1989, p. 521 ). However, the high levels of growth achieved during the 'Celtic Tiger' years suggested that Ireland had found an industrial development model that facilitated a rapid 'catch-up' with its wealthier European neighbours. In addition to high levels of inward foreign direct investment, the 'Celtic Tiger' years were also characterised by high levels of entrepreneurship. However, the recent economic crisis has once again brought to the fore the issues identified in the quote from Sir Robert Kane. Can Ireland's entrepreneurs develop an industrial base that provides sufficient wealth for the people of Ireland?

An understanding of the causes and consequences of entrepreneurship is core to understanding industrial development. Whilst there are multiple definitions of what might constitute entrepreneurship research (Gartner, 1990; Davidsson, 2004), a commonly used definition of entrepreneurship is 'how, by whom, and with what effects opportunities to create future goods and services are discovered, evaluated, and exploited' (Venkataraman, 1997). Defining the field in terms of these questions most likely captures the current body of research by academics in the Irish higher education system that would self-identify themselves as researchers of entrepreneurship. This definition usefully distinguishes entrepreneurship research from other fields, particularly from the field of innovation, and to some extent, from the study of small businesses. Importantly, this definition also allows for contributions from other academic disciplines. For those interested in understanding entrepreneurship in Ireland, critical contributions are to be found in the work of academics found in the Departments of History and Departments of Economics.

In this paper, I reflect on the study of entrepreneurship in Ireland by first reviewing selected past and present entrepreneurship research and then by assessing the impact of this body of research on our students, our peers, policymakers and practitioners. In identifying research on Irish entrepreneurship, I began by reviewing the early editions of the Irish Journal of Management (IBAR at the time) for articles that addressed aspects of entrepreneurship that are included in Venkataraman's (1997). My search then proceeded to identify research, both past and present, which would shed light on the development of Irish entrepreneurs and Irish entrepreneurship. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.