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Contextualizing theory building in entrepreneurship research

2007

Shaker A. Zahra

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.

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