A number of more contextual and process‐oriented approaches have been followed recently in entrepreneurial research, including the cognitive approach, the learning approach and the evolutionary approach. This paper reviews the evolutionary approach to the study of entrepreneurship. This includes an overview of evolutionary theory and the arguments behind its relevance to the study of socio‐economics systems, as well as a review of the application of evolutionary theory to the study of entrepreneurship at both the population level (population ecology) and the organizational level (strategic choice). The reconciliation of these two perspectives is discussed, and comparisons are made with the cognition‐based and learning‐based approaches. It is argued in this paper that an evolutionary approach to the study of entrepreneurship leads to more theory‐driven research with a strong focus on process and context. In addition, it offers more than both the cognition‐based and learning‐based approaches because it allows for multi‐level analyses of the new venture creation process, encompassing both the population ecology (population level) and strategic choice (organizational level) perspective, and the resultant interactions between both hierarchies, giving valuable insight into the same overall evolutionary process.
International Journal of Management Reviews – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2008
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