Improvisation, routines and the practice of entrepreneurship-as-practice

Richard T. Harrison, Suwen Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter addresses one of the difficulties in Entrepreneurship-As-Practice (E-A-P) research: defining practices. We see E-A-P as a shift in focus from the phenomena to the underlying practices, involving the discourse of process in which practices form the basis for social life. Since entrepreneurship does not exist independently of practices that form its base, E-A-P should research those practices that constitute the object of entrepreneurship. Practices are collaborative and relational activities, bringing together actors, activities and contexts in repetitive performances to attain recurrent habitual routines and accomplishments of particular activities. Routines are the result of practices that induce both stability and change. We argue that this paradox of stability and change in E-A-P is negotiated through improvisation, defined as knowing and reflection in action. Therefore, we take an improvisational approach and present a framework for the role of improvisation and routines in E-A-P. We identify the implicit and tacit rules (the prior knowledge base) that govern improvisation and explore the processes (variation, recombination and transformation) that develop routines in improvised performances. Based on this framework as a foundation for future E-A-P research by examining both what is done and what is not done, we develop some theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Entrepreneurship as Practice
EditorsNeil A. Thompson, Orla Byrne, Anna Jenkins, Bruce T. Teague
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781788976831
ISBN (Print)9781788976824
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Business and Management Research as Practice
PublisherEdward Elgar


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