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If you think about entrepreneurship, which picture comes to your mind? Whom would you call an entrepreneur? What characterizes that person? What characterizes the company? The variety of answers on that might be as multifaceted as the number of people wondering about it. Why? More than 30 years ago, Gartner (1985: 696) spotted that "differences among entrepreneurs and among their ventures are as great as the variation between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs and between new firms and established firms." This statement is still true: It is impossible to universalize entrepreneurship – entrepreneurship is about variation and it varies in different dimensions (Welter et al., 2016).
Not only in relation to entrepreneurship, but also in relation to various other societal and political contexts, the buzzword 'diversity' is in the spotlight. Interestingly, in scholarly as well as political discussion, one question often remains unanswered: what exactly is meant when we talk about 'diversity'? The roots of the term 'diversity', as it is used in current political and societal discussions, are in sociological research. Here the term diversity is not just a synonym for heterogeneity, variety or multiplicity. Within the framing of 'diversity', sociological researchers analyse and value the heterogeneity of individuals in relation to specific characteristics – so-called diversity categories or diversity dimensions. They address largely stable demographic dimensions such as gender, age, migration and physical ability; external, changeable dimensions such as income, work experience and personal habits; and organisational dimensions such as work location, management status and seniority (Gardenswartz and Rowe 2002). Based on these and other diversity categories, researchers investigate teams, companies, institutions and all kinds of other groups.
Following Bögenhold and Fachinger (2011), entrepreneurial diversity addresses different facets of the social and occupational variety. Many of these facets, especially demographic dimensions, have been investigated in recent research, for instance gender (Frigotto and Della Nives, 2018; Kanze et al., 2018; Marlow and Martinez Dy, 2018; Spiegler and Halberstadt, 2018; Tegtmeier and Kurczewska, 2017) and migration (Etemad, 2018; Ram et al., 2017) and disability (Antshel, 2018; Wiklund et al., 2018). Surprisingly, entrepreneurship research has not yet tried to explore facets of entrepreneurial diversity in a holistic conceptual way. Existing sociological diversity concepts have not (yet) been adapted to the entrepreneurship research context, and diversity-related levels of analysis are not (yet) defined clearly in this regard. In order to capture the uniqueness of each entrepreneurial situation, we agree with Welter et al. (2017), who emphasised entrepreneurial diversity and claimed that future research must try to indicate the variety in the phenomenon of entrepreneurship more adequately.
Against this background, this special issue will address the aforementioned research gap, and aims to look at conceptual framings as well as different facets of entrepreneurial diversity. In doing so, it aims to serve as a basis of discussion for future research into entrepreneurial diversity. Furthermore, it will help in making research concerning entrepreneurial diversity relevant to other scientific, political and societal diversity discussions.
We welcome high-quality manuscripts looking at entrepreneurial diversity from different perspectives – either globally or in different facets of diversity. Manuscripts can be international in scope or can look at domestic issues with global relevance. Conceptual and empirical papers, from different analytical and methodological perspectives can be submitted. We welcome theoretical, qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method papers. Together, the papers should build a body of high-quality, cumulative research that recapitulates and extends our current knowledge concerning entrepreneurial diversity.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:
Notes for Prospective Authors
Voluntary submission to the RENT Conference 2019
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