African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4082

Full Length Research Paper

Untangling the concept of entrepreneurship towards a common perspective

Charles Mwatsika
  • Charles Mwatsika
  • Department of Management Studies, Faculty of Commerce, University of Malawi. Malawi.
  • Google Scholar
Patrick Kambewa
  • Patrick Kambewa
  • Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Malawi, Malawi.
  • Google Scholar
Levison Chiwaula
  • Levison Chiwaula
  • Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Malawi, Malawi.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 21 June 2018
  •  Published: 28 July 2018


There continues to be a lack of a commonly agreed perspective of entrepreneurship despite the concept being studied for a long period of time. Definitions of the concept and constructs of study in the field have depended on the researcher’s conceptualisation of what constitutes entrepreneurship and as a result there are variations in the study focus and measurement of entrepreneurship. An analysis of literature was therefore conducted to untangle the concept of entrepreneurship towards a common perspective despite similar failed attempts by scholars in the past. The analysis showed that researchers and theorists trace entrepreneurship through the same early theorists that include Cantillon, Say, Marshall, Walker, von Thunen, Menger, von Mises, Schumpeter, Knight, Kirzner, Shane and Venkataraman etc. That means the background to the concept is the same but with varying interpretations. The underlying perspective however is that entrepreneurship is a human behaviour with identifiable driving motives and it requires definitive competencies; skills, knowledge and abilities. The behaviour is purposively exerted, involves various activities and judgmental decisions that are undertaken through a process of identifying, evaluating and exploiting opportunities to create socioeconomic value under conditions of uncertainty. Although the socioeconomic value manifests in new products or services, new sources of supplies, new methods of production, new markets and/or new organisations, it is the new organisation that is commonly recognised as the output of the entrepreneurship process. This perspective narrows and limits the understanding of the concept of entrepreneurship to new and small business ventures with implications on measurement of entrepreneurship. Our analysis shows that all variations of entrepreneurship such as sole entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, necessity motivated entrepreneurship, opportunity motivated entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship etc are connected within the broader view of the same concept, thereby presenting a common perspective of entrepreneurship.


Key words: Entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship behaviour, entrepreneurship process, entrepreneurship outputs, outcomes and impacts.