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Towards an entrepreneurial theory of practice: emerging ideas for emerging economies.

Anderson, Alistair; Ronteau, S�bastien


Alistair Anderson

S�bastien Ronteau


We believe there is a problem with the explanatory power of many existing theories of entrepreneurship in the unique circumstances of emerging economies. Emerging economies range from dynamic contexts such as China (Li and Wang, 2013), to slowly emerging economies in Africa (Harbi et al, 2009) through to the rapid transitions of economies in Eastern Europe (Welter et al, 2015). Clearly they are different from the more established economies. However, they are also considerably different from each other. Nonetheless, the importance of entrepreneurship is clear (Edho, 2016). Our argument is that explanation and understanding of entrepreneurship may be limited by the significant differences in contexts (Anderson and Obeng, 2017). Furthermore, these established theories are themselves fragmentary, tending to explain entrepreneurship only in terms of the parent discipline of the theory, thus unable to build a full understanding of entrepreneurship in action. Yet for Bruton et al (2008:1) 'there is a strong need to develop an understanding of entrepreneurship in emerging economies.' We therefore propose a different approach to further our understanding of entrepreneurship in emerging economies. We suggest that a theory that is grounded in what entrepreneurs actually do within their local context is more likely to provide understanding and explanation. We propose that first asking how entrepreneurs 'do' entrepreneurship, will help develop theory; a theory of entrepreneurial practice. We explain how such a theory could enable us to appreciate how context in the form of institutions, cultures values and economic conditions produces the transformational qualities of enterprise which we admire. In this way a practice theory can relate actions to structures and provide more complete understanding. Moreover, rather than simply providing an individualist accounting of entrepreneurship in practice, a theory of practice will enable us to comprehend how entrepreneurial agency engages with the structures that characterise the environment in which entrepreneurs work.


ANDERSON, A.R. and RONTEAU, S. 2017. Towards an entrepreneurial theory of practice: emerging ideas for emerging economies. Journal of entrepreneurship in emerging economies [online], 9(2), pages 110-120. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 3, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 5, 2017
Publication Date Jun 30, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 2, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 5, 2017
Journal Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
Print ISSN 2053-4604
Electronic ISSN 2053-4612
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 2
Pages 110-120
Keywords Context; Emerging economy; Practice theory
Public URL


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