A critical realist exploration of entrepreneurship as complex, reflexive and myriad 

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Abstract

This paper builds on previous studies that explore entrepreneurship from a critical realist morphogenetic perspective, and it incorporates the neglected aspect of how agential reflexivity shapes entrepreneurship. Using the morphogenetic framework and its typology of reflexive modes, we analyse 78 work and life histories gathered from Sri Lanka with the intention of understanding reflexive entrepreneurial action. Our findings suggest that, while autonomous reflexives match the common understanding of entrepreneurship, namely that it is individualistic and wealth-driven, nevertheless the other reflexive modalities also exhibit entrepreneurship. For example, communicative reflexives may demonstrate entrepreneurship in order to achieve their aspiration to maintain a family firm or tradition, and meta-reflexives may demonstrate
entrepreneurship in order to realise their value ideals. We conclude that the
morphogenetic typology of reflexivity is a reliable guide to understanding the subtleties associated with entrepreneurial action and that it resolves the ongoing debate about whether entrepreneurship is best understood as motivated by the individual or by society.

Key Words: Entrepreneurship, critical realism, morphogenetic approach, reflexivity, Sri Lanka
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 May 2021

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