Towards a Sociological Model of Corporate Entrepreneurship

Dingsdale, Simon (2008) Towards a Sociological Model of Corporate Entrepreneurship. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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The primary purpose of this study is to establish a sociological grounding for the field of Corporate Entrepreneurship (CE) through the development of an organic sociological model. I argue that there are four key problems underlying the CE literature 1) no unifying theoretical base 2) no multi-dimensional, organic model 3) no multi-dimensional analysis 3) no easily implementable model and 4) no identification of critical antecedents. Scholars have failed to understand that without a unifying theoretical base, it is difficult to produce a set of guidelines for business management to follow. A lack of theoretical grounding has lead to a narrow research field making pragmatic implementation of the concept extremely difficult. I argue that CE should be studied as a social phenomenon, and that the application of sociological theory can help reconcile the fundamental problems that run deep within the field. These problems are mirrored in the debates that rage within sociological theory. The dichotomy between 'macro/micro' and 'agency/structure' mirrors many of the fundamental difficulties facing CE research. While the field of CE itself cannot provide answers to this fundamental divide, sociological theory and debate can. I acknowledge that it is impossible to model CE based on a universally accepted theory, because there is no such theory. However, while to establish a multi-dimensional model of CE may appear to be a near impossible task from the outset, I argue the application of a sociological perspective can go a long way toward this goal.

The model is based on existing research in CE and a holistic understanding of sociology in general: the study of human society, its functions and processes. A sociological approach is used as a critical tool to identify key weaknesses in the existing literature, and to establish sociological grounding for the field. The model aims to draw together existing firm-level and individual-level approaches to CE and ensure particular emphasis is given to the relationship between the individual and social context. The model draws upon Agency-Structure integration and specifically Structuration Theory to explain the organic evolution of the corporate entity within the wider context of a competitive environment. The model also aims to reconcile the extant rift in the two halves of the literature, and to answer the question; why CE leads to increased firm performance. This will provide researchers and managers with a much-needed sociological grounding, to enable a richer understanding of the CE process, and a basis on which to build future research. The model will also provide a basis for future empirical testing and has implications for managers in a real business context.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Corporate Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Sociology, Structuration Theory
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 11:01

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