Three waves and counting: the rising tide of contextualization in entrepreneurship research

Friederike Welter, Ted Baker, Katharine Wirsching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Although the field was initially slow on the uptake, contextualization of entrepreneurship research has come a long way in recent years. Arguably, entrepreneurship demands contextualization more than many other fields, because not only is entrepreneurship broad and diverse in its scope but it is also frequently about the creation of differences. In this paper, we outline three recent and overlapping waves of contextualization in the entrepreneurship field. The discussion has moved from challenging the “standard” or Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship by considering the why, what, and how of entrepreneurship (first wave) towards considering more subjective elements and the construction and enactment of contexts (second wave), through challenging us to deepen our theorizing by broadening the domain of entrepreneurship research (third wave). The articles in this special issue on “Entrepreneurship in Context” represent this third wave. Taken together, they illustrate entrepreneurial diversity and comprehend entrepreneurship and innovation as everyday activities. We end with a brief consideration of where the rising tide of contextualization may take the field during the next few years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Context
  • Contextual entrepreneurship
  • Contextualizing entrepreneurship
  • Everyday entrepreneurship


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