Over the last 50 years, entrepreneurship as a scientific field has grown significantly – from a small emerging venture in the 1970s to a global industry today with thousands of people around the world who consider themselves entrepreneurship scholars. In this fast growing field there is always a risk that our history will get lost, with consequences in terms of lack of knowledge accumulation and understanding of the concepts and theories that we use in our research.
Research on entrepreneurship has a long history. In this review I will focus on the modern history of entrepreneurship research by describing and synthesizing the evolution of entrepreneurship as a scholarly field after the Second World War. The social and intellectual evolution of the field can be divided into five periods: the forerunners in mainstream disciplines, the formation of the field, the growth of entrepreneurship research, the golden era, and finally, the establishment of a scholarly field in its own right. Thus, to a large extent the evolution of entrepreneurship as a scientific field follows the path of Hambrick and Chen’s model (2008) from marginalization of the topic in the Post Second World War period to differentiation, mobilization, academic legitimacy, and conversion of the field in the 2010s.
The Evolution of Entrepreneurship as a Scholarly Field examines the development of entrepreneurship as a research field by describing the modern history of entrepreneurship as a scholarly field since World War II and synthesizing the development of the field in terms of the institutionalization of entrepreneurship in the academic system. This monograph takes a broader perspective, not only focusing on the intellectual development of the field but also elaborating on the social aspects of the development of entrepreneurship research. Finally, the main conclusion is that over time, entrepreneurship research has gained academic legitimacy and become more institutionalized in the academic system.