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Re-imagining the growth process: (co)-evolving metaphorical representations of entrepreneurial growth

Clarke, Jean; Holt, Robin and Blundel, Richard (2014). Re-imagining the growth process: (co)-evolving metaphorical representations of entrepreneurial growth. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 26(3-4) pp. 234–256.

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We investigate the role and influence of the biological metaphor ‘growth’ in studies of organizations, specifically in entrepreneurial settings. We argue that we need to reconsider metaphorical expressions of growth processes in entrepreneurship studies in order to better understand growth in the light of contemporary challenges, such as environmental concerns. Our argument is developed in two stages: first, we review the role of metaphor in organization and entrepreneurship studies. Second, we reflect critically on three conceptualizations of growth that have drawn on biological metaphors: the growing organism, natural selection and co-evolution. We find the metaphor of co-evolution heuristically valuable but under-used and in need of further refinement. We propose three characteristics of the co-evolutionary metaphor that might enrich our understanding of entrepreneurial growth: relational epistemology; collectivity; and multidimensionality. Through this we provide a conceptual means of reconciling an economic impetus for entrepreneurial growth with an environmental imperative for sustainability.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Taylor and Francis
ISSN: 1464-5114
Keywords: biological metaphors; co-evolution; entrepreneurship; growth process; organizations.
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 39325
Depositing User: Richard Blundel
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2014 10:12
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2019 04:38
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