Contextualizing theory building in entrepreneurship research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

550 Scopus citations


Theory development and testing are central to the advancement of entrepreneurship as a scholarly field. For nearly three decades now, researchers have borrowed popular theories from other disciplines and adapted them to the study of diverse entrepreneurship phenomena. This has enhanced the rigor of research findings. Future studies can achieve greater rigor and relevance by paying more attention to the context of their investigations. Understanding the nature, dynamics, uniqueness and limitations of this context can enrich future studies. This article describes common problems revealed in recent entrepreneurship research when applying existing and new theories to well known vs. emerging and novel phenomena. The article also suggests strategies to enrich creative and constructive theory building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Context of entrepreneurial phenomena
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Theory building


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