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Research Highlights: Entrepreneurship-as-Practice


(posted on behalf of @Aviel Cogan and @Tobias Pret)
Whereas strategy-as-practice has become an important alternative to the dominant institutional and resource-based views of strategy research, Entrepreneurship-as-Practice (EaP) has not received adequate attention to date, especially from top tier entrepreneurship journals. As a result, there are enduring gaps in our understanding of the relational and processual nature of entrepreneurial activities. For example, while entrepreneurial resourcing has been shown to have a significant impact on the abilities of entrepreneurs to successfully develop their ventures, little is known about how such entrepreneurial practices are collectively enacted and accomplished in context, particularly in later venture stages. @Mikhail Kosmynin and @Elisabet Ljunggren address this research gap in their recent Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice article, entitled “Tales of the Unexpected: The Repair Work of an Entrepreneurial Resourcing Practice and the Role of Emotions.”
As Kosmynin explained, serendipity played a consequential role in the direction of the research. “We were interested in […] how entrepreneurs and their partners do resourcing together […] It was during the data collection in 2019, when I was shadowing the entrepreneur on her trips to the municipality which she had a collaboration with, when an unexpected situation took place […]. The municipality merged with 2 more municipalities, and they experienced serious budget cuts and it put resourcing and collaboration at risk […]. So, it was a point where I was pretty sure that the data collection would stop […]. But the entrepreneur and her partners were interested in us continuing to collect data, so I got access to […], for example, email correspondence, which is not […] that common, you know, and also shadowing her after this unexpected situation. And this was very rich data […]. Without this data, we wouldn't have been able to write this article about how they repaired the practice after this unexpected situation. And so in this paper, we looked at resourcing, how it's enacted by partners, how it unfolded, and how it was repaired […] following an unexpected situation.”
Kosmynin and Ljunggren’s reflexive research approach allowed them to take full advantage of the evolving nature of their data collection. As Ljunggren put it, “EaP has the potential to make you see things from another perspective. You know, with the data … Mikhail has been shadowing and doing these small, informal chats and more formal interviews, etc., and […] [while] you can't be in the head of the entrepreneur […]. EaP offers the possibility to understand the entrepreneur from his or her “floor-perspective” rather than as an objective researcher with a distance. However, you still need to have some distance to do the analysis and so, I think that's also one of the things which was good about the collaboration—Mikhail [Kosmynin] was […] doing the following and shadowing, whereas I had the distance, so we could have these discussions because I wasn’t totally [immersed] in it, the way you are when you do the data collection by yourself.”
The evolution of the paper did not end with the data collection, however. Kosmynin noted that publication was “a really long process […]. I cannot recount how many drafts we had, but the paper changed completely.” Both authors agreed that their reviewer team played a significant role in furthering their analysis. “We were really lucky to have good reviewers. It was 3 reviewers who provided really developmental comments—not just constructive or helpful—they really helped us to develop the idea and narrow it down. So the focus changed a few times” (Kosmynin). Ljunggren added that, while “we obviously had something interesting in that first submission […] they [the reviewers] helped us see, what we communicated, but we were not able to precisely articulate ourselves.”
In the end, however, the ability of the reviewers and authors to work together to fully tease out these insights goes back to the immensity and richness of the data. According to Kosmynin, “we had an enormous amount of data and it was difficult to understand what exactly we were looking at. With the help of the reviewers, after a few rounds of revisions, we realized that we had plenty of data […] about emotions which, at first, we did not pay that much attention to […]. But one of the reviewers looked at the data [tables] and encouraged us to dig deeper and see what was going on there […] and that’s how emotions became one of the main contributions of this paper.” Thankfully, the authors and reviewers invested the time to develop this work and provide us with such valuable new insights into the later stages of resourcing, especially how entrepreneurs can repair practices when things go wrong.​​​
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01-26-2023 10:15

The way to generate "adequate attention" is to develop a community of readers and writers in a particular area of scholarship.  There is a community of scholars in the "entrepreneurship as practice" area that are reading and writing in that area, so we have both authors and reviewers versed in this area to enable scholars to publish in journals.  As the newsletter noted, a conference on "entrepreneurship as practice" will be held on March 29 to 31s on this topic.  This is the 8th year that this conference has been held.  See below for details:

8th Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Conference

Symposium: March 29

Conference: March 29 - 31st 2023

Host: Leuphana University, Luneburg, Germany 

The 8th version of this Conference and Symposium aims to advance our understanding of entrepreneurship-as-practice, foster network ties, facilitate collaborative writing relationships, and build a strong community of practice scholars. To do so, we have developed a Research Conference that includes keynote lectures, panel sessions, paper pitches and a working paper development session. Furthermore, we have developed a Symposium for scholars and PhDs new to practice theories. The Symposium aims at educating interested scholars as well as helps to develop empirical and conceptual papers regarding the 'practice turn' taking place in entrepreneurship studies. Building on the first (February 2016 at VU Amsterdam), second (February 2017 at University College Dublin Quinn School of Business), third (April 2018 at Linnaeus University), fourth (April2019 at Nantes Business School), fifth and sixth (virtual events), and seventh (April 2022 at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) Entrepreneurship-as-Practice (EaP) conferences, this conference and symposium will be held at Leuphana University. The format of the 8th EaP conference will be in person. Participants do not need to submit an abstract/paper to participate in the conference and symposium (only PDW day, see below).


The practice tradition (also known as practice-based studies, the practice approach or the practice lens) forefronts the notion that practices and their connections are fundamental to all social phenomena (Rouse, 2006; T. Schatzki, Knorr-Cetina, & Savigny, 2001). For entrepreneurship it means that people "perform" ventures, startups and firms on an everyday basis through materially accomplished and ordered practices (Chalmers & Shaw, 2017; Hill,2018; Johannisson, 2011; Vincent & Pagan, 2019). This is to say that descriptions and explanations of entrepreneurship-such as, recognizing, evaluating and exploiting opportunities-are incomplete without the 'alternate' description and explanation of how entrepreneurial life is actually lived in and through practices (Gross, Carson, & Jones, 2014; Keating, Geiger, & Mcloughlin, 2013). The term 'practice', therefore, does not refer to an 'empty' conceptual category of 'what entrepreneurs think and do' (Sklaveniti & Steyaert, 2019), but encompasses the meaning-making, identity-forming and order-producing interactions (Chia &Holt, 2006; Nicolini, 2009) enacted by multiple entrepreneurial practitioners and situated in specific (historical) conditions. Therefore, practice theories orient entrepreneurship scholars to take seriously the practices of entrepreneuring as they unfold and are experienced in real-time rather than as they are remembered, or interpreted. Simply put, practice scholars are concerned with the 'nitty-gritty' work of entrepreneuring-all the meetings, the talking, the selling, the form-filling and the number-crunching by which opportunities actually get enacted (Matthews, Chalmers, & Fraser, 2018; Whittington, 1996).

For background and information on EaP literature, prior conferences, media and other pertinent materials, please go to:


March 29th - New Scholar and PhD Symposium (morning session)

The Symposium begins the morning of the 29th, and concludes at lunch time. The Symposium brings together aspiring and experienced practice researchers. In this morning session, scholars new to practice theories and early career PhD students will be able to learn about how to conduct practice-based studies, ask questions about EaP, and meet and discuss ideas for research with experts in the field. More detailed information will be made available here shortly. To register for the Symposium, please see the registration link below.


March 29th – 30th Research Conference

The conference will start on the afternoon of the 29th, and end at the end of the day on the 30th. It will include keynote lectures, panel sessions, and roundtable discussions. Moreover, participants do not need to submit an abstract/paper to participate in the research conference. A more detailed programme will be made available shortly.


March 31st (morning session) Paper Development Workshop

The Paper Development Workshop is designed to maximize useful feedback on developing papers. All those who are wishing to join the paper development workshop are asked to submit an abstract (of approximately 1,000 words) by January 31, 2023 to A more detailed programme will be made available shortly. We welcome manuscripts that are employing theories of practice to understand a wide array of entrepreneurship phenomena and/or exploring various entrepreneurial practices. Abstracts should present the purpose of the research, the relevance of the problem, the literature review, the methods and the main findings. Authors will be notified of acceptance or otherwise by February 14, 2023. Full working papers for the paper development workshop are due March 14, 2023. Manuscript should be 10-15 pages, Times New Roman 12, single spacing. Abstracts and papers should be written and presented in English. All working papers will be assigned to discussion groups. Each group member will be responsible for providing feedback on the papers received during the working paper session.

Potential, although not exclusive, topics that may be addressed include:

Empirical Challenges:

  • How do entrepreneurs navigate uncertainty in practice?

  • How do entrepreneurial heuristics become embedded in everyday action?

  • How do entrepreneuring practices differ across contexts? Why?

  • What practices are currently overlooked in entrepreneurship research? How are they important?


Theoretical Challenges:

  • How can we theoretically cope with the enormous diversity of practices in which entrepreneurship is implicated?

  • How can entrepreneurship studies help to theorize the reproduction and transformation of practical knowledge?

  • How can we incorporate embodiment and sociomateriality into our understanding of practices related to entrepreneurship?

  • How can an EaP perspective rejuvenate our thinking about traditional entrepreneurship related topics of innovating, creating opportunities, networking, venturing, strategizing, financing and organizing?

  • What is the value of existing theoretical frameworks of practice for entrepreneurship research, and when should we employ or go beyond them?

  • (How) are EaP contributions critical?

  • How can practice traditions of entrepreneurship address shortcomings of other philosophical streams, such as individualism and structuralism?

  • How is the process approach to entrepreneurship (entrepreneuring) similar to and different from the practice approach?

  • How are entrepreneurial behaviour theories (discovery, creation, effectuation, bricolage) similar and different from practice-based theories?



  • How does one begin an EaP study, such as selecting and entering a site for observation?

  • How can we observe, analyse and theorize about these unique instances, whilst still accounting for their relations to other practices?

  • What are some common research questions that can be formulated and answered using an EaP perspective, and which practice theory is appropriate for which research questions in entrepreneurship?

  • How can one catalogue and rigorously analyse large amounts of video-based ethnographic data?



Important Dates:

January 31st, 2023                     Abstract Submission (extended) Deadline (Pitch and PDW)                                  February 14, 2023                  Notification of Acceptance (Pitch and PDW)
March 14, 2022                       Full Paper Submission Deadline (PDW) 
March 20, 2022                      Registration Deadline (All participants)
March 29 - 31 2023                Symposium and Conference Dates

Conference Fees:

Fees for Symposium and Research Conference attendees will be announced shortly.


This will be available shortly.




  • Chalmers, D. M., & Shaw, E. (2017). The endogenous construction of entrepreneurial contexts: A practice-based perspective. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 35(1), 19–39.

  • Chia, R., & Holt, R. (2006). Strategy as Practical Coping: A Heideggerian Perspective. Organization Studies , 27(5), 635–655.

  • Gross, N., Carson, D., & Jones, R. (2014). Beyond rhetoric: re-thinking entrepreneurial marketing from a practice perspective. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 16(2), 105–127.

  • Hill, I. (2018). How did you get up and running? Taking a bourdieuan perspective towards a framework for negotiating strategic fit. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 30(5–6), 662–696.

  • Johannisson, B. (2011). Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring. Small Business Economics, 36(2), 135–150.

  • Keating, A., Geiger, S., & Mcloughlin, D. (2013). Riding the Practice Waves: Social Resourcing Practices During New Venture Development. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 38(5), 1–29.

  • Matthews, R. S., Chalmers, D. M., & Fraser, S. S. (2018). The intersection of entrepreneurship and selling: An interdisciplinary review, framework, and future research agenda. Journal of Business Venturing, In Press.

  • Nicolini, D. (2009). Zooming in and out: studying practices by switching theoretical lenses and trailing connections. Organization Studies, 30(12), 1391–1418.

  • Rouse, J. (2006). Practice theory. In D. M. Gabbay, P. Thagard, & J. Woods (Eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science (Vol. 15, pp. 500–540). Elsevier.

  • Schatzki, T., Knorr-Cetina, K., & Savigny, E. von. (2001). The practice turn in contemporary theory. (T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina, & E. von Savigny, Eds.). London: Routledge.

  • Sklaveniti, C., & Steyaert, C. (2019). Reflecting with Pierre Bourdieu: Towards a reflexive outlook for practice-based studies of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, (forthcoming), 1–21.

  • Vincent, S., & Pagan, V. (2019). Entrepreneurial agency and field relations: A Realist Bourdieusian Analysis. Human Relations, 72(2), 188–216.

  • Whittington, R. (1996). Strategy as practice. Long Range Planning, 29(5), 731–735.

Neil Thompson
Associate Professor
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands