The social construction of entrepreneurial behaviour
The research examined the nature of behaviour in relation to the motivations and aspirations of small business owners. The work provides a more comprehensive understanding of business owners' behaviours and their reasons for being in business. The thesis analyses the philosophical assumptions underlying theories and previous ideas on entrepreneurship. It shows that such assumptions guide and/or restrict the process of knowledge construction in the subject. One contribution that the work provides is to develop theoretical frameworks, based on the principles of Social Constructionism, which are used to guide the methodology and field research. The field research, which involved benchmark case studies and critical incident interviews with restaurant business owners, explores and codes narrative data examining behaviours related to entrepreneurship. The results show that the interviewees' reasons for being in business have an important impact on their behavioural strategies. This affects the way they socially construct and relate to their external environment. The thesis is concluded by the presentation of an integrated typology that builds on and adds to existing knowledge in the subject area. The work thus provides a better understanding of small businesses and may better inform business support and enterprise policy.