Marketing and Entrepreneurship: Research Ideas and Opportunities

By Gerald E. Hills | Go to book overview

3
Where's Entrepreneurship? Finding the Definitive Definition

William B. Gartner

This chapter uncovers some ideas about entrepreneurship that seem to have gotten lost in the ongoing search for the definitive definition. If one were to take an outsider's view on the debate in the academic community about the nature of entrepreneurship ( Brockhaus and Horwitz 1986; Carland, Hoy, ; and Carland 1984; Carland, Hoy, and Carland 1988; Carsrud, Olm and Eddy 1986; Covin and Slevin 1991; Gardner 1991; Gartner 1988, 1990, 1991; Hills 1987; Low and MacMillan 1988; Sexton and Smilor 1986; Wortman 1986; 1987), the quest for an entrepreneurship definition seems to take on the characteristics of the search for Waldo in Where's Waldo? (Handford 1987). For those readers not familiar with Where's Waldo? (and its sequels Find Waldo Now [ Handford 1988] and The Great Waldo Search [ Handford 1989]), one should imagine a book filled with pages of illustrations depicting a tangled hoard of hundreds of individuals at various locations (e.g., on the beach, at sea, a museum, the railway station). The purpose of each Waldo book is ostensibly to find Waldo (illustrated as a fellow wearing glasses dressed in a red and white striped sweater and hat) in each conglomeration of people. In exploring each illustration, the search for Waldo engages different senses of discovery. In some illustrations, Waldo immediately stands out from the crowd. In other illustrations, one needs to systematically cover every square inch of a page to find him. Part of the adventure of searching for Waldo is in discovering individuals engaged in all kinds of interesting and amusing activities. In fact, on the endpaper of the book are checklists of "Hundreds more things for Waldo watchers to watch out for!"

Much like the search for Waldo, it is difficult to locate entrepreneurship within the larger context of other human activities. If it seems that some new definition of entrepreneurship "pops up" in every journal article and book on the subject, or that one finds it difficult to discover how an author has identified and described the entrepreneurs used in a study of entrepreneurship, it is with good

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