Cultural Entrepreneurship: A New Agenda for the Study of Entrepreneurial Processes and Possibilities
Innovation and entrepreneurship lie at the heart of our modern economy. Yet while scholars have long examined the economic drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship, we know less about the cultural forces which shape these dynamics. To the extent that the existing entrepreneurship literature has considered how culture shapes innovation and entrepreneurship, it has mainly been viewed as a constraining force which limited and hindered the creation of novelty. This is especially true for economic approaches to entrepreneurship and innovation. I will present ideas from a recently published book with Mary Ann Glynn that leverages contemporary cultural approaches to entrepreneurship that were, in part, seeded by our 2001 SMJ paper on cultural entrepreneurship. In contrast to conceptualizing culture as a normative constraint, recent scholarship draws more from Swidler's notion of culture as a toolkit, highlighting the importance of cultural skill in the context of entrepreneurial action. I will review key arguments from the book that sketches an agenda for future research on cultural entrepreneurship, highlighting the fruitfulness of a field analytic approach and a focus on projective agency. An example from the development of nanotechnology will be used to illustrate key arguments.
Professor Michael Lounsbury is the Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Alberta School of Business. His research focuses on the relationship between organizational and institutional change, entrepreneurial dynamics, and the emergence of new industries and practices. In addition to serving on a number of editorial boards, Professor Lounsbury is the series editor of Research in the Sociology of Organizations. His Ph.D. is in Sociology and Organization Behavior from Northwestern University.