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1st EaP Workshop

in Amsterdam  

On 17-19 February, the first annual workshop on Entrepreneurship as Practice was organized at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. The organizers were Dr. Neil Thompson, Dr. Eveline Stam, and Dr. Karen Verduyn (VU Amsterdam) and Prof. dr. Bill Gartner (Copenhagen Business School), and partially funded by Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS), Amsterdam Business Research Institute (ABRI), and the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE). 
The workshop was an incitement towards scholars to participate in (re-)energizing ideas about entrepreneurial practices into a richer context.

 

The goal of this research workshop was to extend entrepreneurship studies by turning from the seminal ‘what’ question in entrepreneurship into a ‘how’ question by creating strong links to practice theory (Bourdieu; Giddens; de Certeau). While scholars recognize the centrality of human action in the creation of value within their own local contexts: how context, behavioural inclinations, and organizing practices conjugate into every-day “entrepreneurship as practice” remains implicit, or at least, fades into the background in most empirical studies of entrepreneurship. Practice theories provide a unique perspective of social and human phenomena, and when pursued coherently, suggests the basic unit of analysis for understanding entrepreneurship are practices, not entrepreneurs. Despite the promising application of practice theory as an area for entrepreneurship research, entrepreneurial practice has received relatively little attention from entrepreneurship scholars. 


The purpose of the workshop was twofold; to build a community of likeminded scholars wishing to employ practice theories to further advance entrepreneurship studies, and to discuss how the different practice theories can be used to answer new questions in the field. After Dr. Bill Gartner’s introductory presentation about the state of entrepreneurship research, two esteemed keynote speakers, Dr. Susi Geiger (UCD/UC Berkeley) and Dr. Davide Nicolini (Warwick), presented about the benefits and challenges of practice theories, and how practice theories can be used to theorize 'larger' organizational phenomenon. You can watch all the video presentations here

 

Over the two days, sessions were organized for the 20 participants to present their ongoing conceptual and empirical work using practice theory. The evening programme included a visit to InStock, a food-waste rescue restaurant, keeping with the theme that culinary, consumption, and waste practices have far reaching consequences for the natural environment. Moreover, there was an excellent dinner on the 18th at the PompStation, a renovated water pump station in Amsterdam’s east neighbourhood, complete with live jazz. 


Overall, the workshop was a huge first step towards making practice theory a recognized and attractive area of entrepreneurship research. The community plans on keeping the ball rolling by meeting again at the 2016 AOM Conference (PDW session organized ‘taking stock of the how question in entrepreneurship research’), the 2016 RENT conference ('Critical Perspectives in Entrepreneurship Studies' track 16-17 November 2016, Antwerp, Belgium), and again in 2017 for another workshop on Entrepreneurship as Practice (hosted by Dr Orla Bryne at University College Dublin). A website is currently being built to facilitate connections between members.

> Download the course guide here.

> Download a copy of the workshop flyer here.

> Download the research & PhD workshop description here.