Message from the Chair (March 2018)

As I rotate on as Chair of the Historian Committee this year, I wanted to first thank Hans Landström for the wonderful job that he did as Chair in the past several years. The Committee’s many accomplishments under his leadership include compiling a comprehensive History of the Entrepreneurship Division, which Hans shared with members at the 2016 meeting, and he and Committee members delivered some historically focused PDWs at several Annual Meetings.

In addition, many of the resources he and Barbara Bird assembled are now available on the Division’s website. Check them out on AoM Connect under the “Committees” and then “History of Entrepreneurship” tabs. Resources include important readings related to the evolution of the entrepreneurship field, bibliometric literature reviews, and video interviews with some of the field’s pioneers.

Going forward, we would like to continue submitting history-focused PDWs for the Annual Meeting as well as accumulating the history of both the field and the Division. In terms of the latter, much of our history is recorded on paper, and, while we will continue to do this (such as periodically updating the History of the Entrepreneurship Division), we also plan to start recording our history digitally.

So, for example, Division members’ pictures of sessions and other events during the Annual Meeting will become part of our digital history on our Facebook (@ENTDivision), Instagram (entdivaom), and Twitter (@ENT_Div_AoM). In addition, we are discussing the possibility of a history-focused podcast, which would have a current events section, focusing on how recent publications fit into the historical development of the field, and a historical section, focusing on the continuing influence of foundational works in the field. Both activities will help us record our history as it happens.

Please contact me at , if you are interested in joining the Committee to become involved in any of these proposed ideas.

Thanks so much,

Franz Lohrke
Historian Committee Chair

Message from the Chair (2017)

History matters in entrepreneurship research!

There are many arguments for this statement: First, we have amassed a lot of knowledge about entrepreneurship, but early contributions tend to have been forgotten rather quickly or they become reduced into “obligatory” citations in contemporary studies. However, a thorough understanding of past contributions can help researchers to create a necessary knowledge accumulation within the field. Therefore, within the ENT Historian Committee we want to acknowledge earlier contributions and contributors within the field in order to create a focus on knowledge accumulation in entrepreneurship research.

Second, entrepreneurship has a tradition of being a multidisciplinary research field and in this respect we borrow a lot of concepts and theories from other fields. However, imported theories have often been developed to understand fundamental different phenomena, and theories are products of time and place in which they have been developed. Each theory has its own history and assumptions on which it is based, and a mismatch between the basic assumptions in the theory and the phenomenon may result in inclusive or even incorrect findings and a misinterpretation of the phenomenon that we study. Thus, in the ENT Historian Committee we want to stimulate a solid “groundwork” in our research by an increased understanding of the historical roots and antecedents of the concepts and theories that we use in entrepreneurship research.

Third, entrepreneurship research is highly related to policy and entrepreneurial practice, and there might be an assumption that the policies and practices are always the best available. However, history has taught us that what is best for one place and time will not always work in other contexts, and policies and practices need to change over time. In the ENT Historian Committee we want to promote the understanding of a historical contextual perspective when discussing entrepreneurship policies and practices.

With these arguments in mind, it is the aim of the ENT Historian Committee to preserve the importance of history in entrepreneurship research, and stimulate a historical interest among the members of the Entrepreneurship Division.