Narratives in entrepreneurship focus on the use and generation of words, which is based on the methods of discourse and story analysis under the background of linguistic turn. As an opposite research paradigm compared with positivism, narratives in the entrepreneurship study have opened a new door in exploring the complexity and diversity of entrepreneurial process. Narratives provide an approach that promises insights into the prosaic or everyday aspects of entrepreneurship which has also been labeled as " a science of imagination” for what entrepreneurship might offer as a contribution to scholarship（Gartner, 2007）. Despite the rising interest in narrative approaches in entrepreneurship literature, we must acknowledge that the broad label of narrative research encompasses research that varies in the " kinds of data, theoretical perspective, epistemological position, research questions, even in definition of narrative”（Riessman, 2008）, which issues great challenges to entrepreneurship researchers who want to analyze their own narrative materials. Meanwhile, not enough attention has been paid to the " narrative turn” in entrepreneurship research in domestic academia, with the lack of research papers as well as introductory articles. To address this challenge, especially for domestic scholars who are not adept in using narrative methods, this paper combs the research frame and methodologies in entrepreneurial narratives systematically. Based on the analysis of selected papers from top 5 journals in entrepreneurship research, it defines the definition, research scopes and basic standpoints of entrepreneurial narratives with a review of extant contributions of narrative materials to entrepreneurship research. After that, the main topics of entrepreneurial narrative literature are generalized and reviewed in the aspects of entrepreneurial identities, entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurial failure, entrepreneurial opportunity, narrative competence, and organizational identity. The research methods of entrepreneurial narratives are also summarized, highlighting the vast number of approaches used by researchers in the field, which can be classified as the " analysis of narrative”, " narrative analysis”, or both according to Polkinghorne（1995）. Finally, this paper draws conclusions and suggests for further research directions in both methodologies and relevant research themes. For example, rebuilding entrepreneurship, thick description of entrepreneurs career paths, mechanisms of organizational dynamics and entrepreneurial narratives under the internet context. The conclusions are of great importance to the exploration of entrepreneurial narratives and the advancement of narratives in entrepreneurship research. The primary contributions of this paper are as follows: First, we make a thorough exploration of the origin and benchmark of entrepreneurial narratives which demonstrates its uniqueness in organizational studies. Second, a research framework is provided covering the main topics of entrepreneurial narratives and the relationship between different themes through a careful literature review. Finally, approaches gathered from varied fields from early literary criticisms to contemporary critical analyses are compared as to demonstrate and reflect upon how narrative approaches can contribute to entrepreneurship research. While the empirical approach still dominates the mainstream of management studies, the promotion of narratives in entrepreneurship provides a more inspiring way in exploring the complexity of entrepreneurial activities.
Narratives in the Entrepreneurship Study: Alternative Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Research
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 09, pp. 18 - 29 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.09.002
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Cite this article
Du Jingjing, Wang Jingjing, Chen Zhongwei. Narratives in the Entrepreneurship Study: Alternative Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Research[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(9): 18-29.
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