Contemplating an Evolutionary Approach to Entrepreneurship
This paper explores that application of evolutionary approaches to the study of entrepreneurship. It is argued an evolutionary theory of entrepreneurship must give asmuch concern to the foundations of evolutionary thought as it does the natureentrepreneurship. The central point being that we must move beyond a debate orpreference of the natural selection and adaptationist viewpoints. Only then can theinterrelationships between individuals, firms, populations and the environments withinwhich they interact be better appreciated.
Entrepreneurship, Selection, Lamarckism, Interaction, and Replication
During recent times, the frequency of calls for researchers of entrepreneurship toadopt an evolutionary approach has increased. Two of the domain’s leading journals (i.e.
Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
Journal of Business Venturing
) haveorganised special editions devoted to consideration of the increasing application of evolutionary theories to the study of entrepreneurship. Appropriately, the work of HowardAldrich strongly influences the content and contributors of these special editions.Aldrich’s (1999) articulation of a generic evolutionary framework to advance ourunderstanding of social change is perhaps destined to become a landmark contributionwithin the developing field of entrepreneurship research. Yet, despite the breadth of itscontribution, many questions remain unresolved, many raised by Aldrich himself in hisconcluding ‘invitation’ chapter. This paper accepts the challenge of Aldrich’s challenge tofurther explore the application of evolutionary theory to the emergence and disappearance