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Paradigms as heuristics: a review of the philosophies underpinning economic studies in entrepreneurship

Research output: Working paper

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  • L A Pittaway
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Abstract

This paper addresses contemporary debates about paradigms in organization studies and uses Burrell and Morgan's (1979) framework to undertake an analysis of the metatheories underlying economic theories in entrepreneurship. The core thesis of the paper is that those studying the subject of entrepreneurship need to reflect more on the underpinning philosophies that guide research. Differences in the economic theories contributing to the subject are explored in the paper to illustrate the diversity of philosophies that exist in the historical foundations of the subject. Using Burrell and Morgan's (BM) paradigms has led to a number of methodological advances and has highlighted issues regarding their usefulness as heuristics and these are reported. The paper concludes by explaining how extreme functionalist assumptions can harm the development of theory in entrepreneurship