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.