Abstract

It has been widely acknowledged that entrepreneurship should indeed be seen as a complex and emergent process. However, we suggest that to make sense of these complex entrepreneurial processes, it is important to complement the process perspective with an explicitly normative perspective that focuses on the micro-foundations, i.e. the mechanisms “that explain the events of an entrepreneurial journey” (Selden and Fletcher 2015: 603; cf. Neck and Green 2011; Venkataraman et al. 2012). In line with the recent interest in entrepreneurship as a prescriptive method, among both practitioners (Ries 2011; Furr and Alstom 2011; Blank and Dorf 2012) and academics (McGrath and MacMillan 1995; Fiet 2007; Sarasvathy 2001), we focus our attention on entrepreneurial methods, defined as coherent sets of principles of thought and action that guide entrepreneurial action and interaction and thereby the entrepreneurial process (cf. Neck and Green 2011). In particular, this paper focuses on the lean startup methodology (Ries, 2011) due to its explicit prescriptive ambitions in combination with its widespread popularity among incubators, accelerators and as part of entrepreneurship educations. Besides exploring the micro-foundations of entrepreneurial processes, an investigation of how such prescriptive entrepreneurial methods are enacted in real life situations will begin to provide some much needed academic evaluation of this popular phenomenon.

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