Small Business and entrepreneurship policy

Parker, Rachel L. (2009) Small Business and entrepreneurship policy. In O'Hara, Phillip (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Public Policy: Governance in a Global Age, Volume 4: Social Environmental and Corporate Governance. GPERU, Perth, Western Australia, pp. 597-603.

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There are two key approaches to entrepreneurship, each of which has different implications for small business policy (Danson 2002). The first conceives of entrepreneurship as an economic process and can be traced to the work of Joseph Schumpeter who developed the concept of creative destruction to describe the entrepreneurial process that led to the simultaneous elimination of old industries and activities and the creation of new activities through the commercial application of new ideas. While entrepreneurship as a process of creative destruction might include start up activity amongst small firms, it does not exclusively involve small firms as large firms may contribute to the entrepreneurial process through the generation of new knowledge and by assisting in financing the development of new ideas amongst small firms. Although innovation occurs in large as well as small firms, the literature on small enterprise innovation draws heavily on Schumpeter’s depiction of the central role of the entrepreneur in the process of creative destruction, whereby the economic system is transformed from within and new cycles in economic life emerge in which new industries and markets replace old industries and markets. Schumpeter argued that entrepreneurs drove the process of innovation and that innovation was a stimulus to economic development and involved the development of new products, processes, methods of production or new forms of commercial or financial organisation (Schumpeter 1911). At a time when technological development and structuraleconomic change are occurring at a rapid pace, small firm innovation is seen to be critically important because empirical evidence, although not undisputed, indicates that SMEs make an important contribution to radical innovations in new industries (Nooteboom 1994). The second view of entrepreneurship focuses on the individual entrepreneur more than the entrepreneurial process. The entrepreneur is depicted as an owner of small businesses, and is regarded as having particular personal characteristics such as self-reliance, individual initiative and self-motivation. Entrepreneurs are also considered to have a behavioural orientation towards the exploitation of new ideas and opportunities. They are the risk takers who are able to see an opportunity and pursue it commercially despite the uncertainty of rewards. The capacity to plan, manage and lead is also seen to be identifying characteristics of entrepreneurs. Different small business policy approaches arise from these different perspectives on entrepreneurship. Small business policy approaches that emphasise the process by which new ideas are generated and applied commercially arise from the first and broader view of entrepreneurship. Policies designed to generate a population of risk taking and self-motivated individuals with highly developed management and commercial skills are more in keeping with the second approach, which is focused on the individual entrepreneur rather than the entrepreneurial process.

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ID Code: 31382
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Small Business, Entrepreneurship, Governance
ISBN: 0-515-34523-X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Small Business Management (150314)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2010 04:34
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2011 13:46

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