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“To Get Things Done”: A Relational Approach to Entrepreneurship

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In recent years, entrepreneurship and innovation have gained much attention in discussions on economic development in diverse fields. Research on entrepreneurship and innovation in tourism is a relatively novel field of inquiry. This paper deals with the entrepreneurial process through a relational approach in the form of actor–network theory (ANT). It builds on a broad view of entrepreneurship, framing it as the capacity to perceive opportunities for change and the capacity to get things done. It is argued that ANT may serve as a useful device to open up the entrepreneurial process and provide insights into the diverse ways through which particular innovation projects are accomplished. Styles of ordering relational practices are identified as key elements in this regard. These denote methods of associating necessary elements to establish and stabilize particular orders. This paper discusses four styles of relational ordering identified in the translation process of a particular tourism development project in Iceland: the style of economic development, the style of fellowship, the style of “sparks” and, finally, the style of “finding one's sea legs”. It is illustrated how these styles are intertwined and how they are at times difficult to separate in the study of entrepreneurial practices. It is argued that entrepreneurship is always based on diverse styles of relational ordering and, thus for understanding the workings of entrepreneurship, it is important to follow the ways in which they are enacted and continually (re)produced in entrepreneurial practices.
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Keywords: Iceland; actor–network theory; entrepreneurship; relationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences,University of Iceland, Iceland

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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