Re-imagining the Growth Process: (Co)-evolving Metaphorical Representations of Entrepreneurial Growth

Jean Clarke, Robin Holt, Richard Blundel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntrepreneurship & Regional Development
Volume26
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)234-256
ISSN0898-5626
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

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abstract = "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.",
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Re-imagining the Growth Process : (Co)-evolving Metaphorical Representations of Entrepreneurial Growth. / Clarke, Jean; Holt, Robin; Blundel, Richard.

In: Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Vol. 26, No. 3-4, 2014, p. 234-256.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Re-imagining the Growth Process

T2 - (Co)-evolving Metaphorical Representations of Entrepreneurial Growth

AU - Clarke, Jean

AU - Holt, Robin

AU - Blundel, Richard

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Biology

KW - Co-evolution

KW - Entrepreneurship

KW - Growth

KW - Metaphor

KW - Natural environment

KW - Process

KW - Sustainability

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DO - 10.1080/08985626.2014.888099

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EP - 256

JO - Entrepreneurship & Regional Development

JF - Entrepreneurship & Regional Development

SN - 0898-5626

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