Historical - Analogic Reasoning, Sensemaking, and Sensegiving: the Impress of the Past on Entrepreneurial Cognition

Organisation Studies

Speaker:Dr Andrew Smith, University of Liverpool
Date: Wednesday 7 February 2018
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Pearson Teaching Room, Building One

Further details

Our paper integrate Ricoeur’s (2004) insights on the use of historical knowledge and analysis into the existing literature in entrepreneurship on analogical reasoning. We find evidence that entrepreneurs use historical reasoning and their use of historical analogy differs according to the entrepreneurs’ technical capabilities and intended entrepreneurial outcomes.The empirical basis of our paper was research in the FabLab in the British city of Manchester. FabLabs are facilities that allow emerging entrepreneurs and other users to access new distributed manufacturing technologies such as 3-D printers. Through analysing in-depth interview data with entrepreneurs using this digital fabrication space (FabLab), we explore how users of this entrepreneurial space utilize historical analogy to make sense of the digital technologies and the entrepreneurial opportunities they offer. We summarise with the implications for academics and managers.. Our conclusion, which is that historical ideas influence how entrepreneurs understand the entrepreneurial opportunities created by new technologies, has implications for future research on entrepreneurial cognition. Our research also has managerial implications, as it can serve to make entrepreneurs aware of the fact that they are using historical ideas to make sense of the present. Many businesspeople use historical analogy without actually realizing that they are engaged in a form of historical reasoning. By becoming more conscious of the fact they are using historical knowledge in making business decisions, reflexive entrepreneurs can potentially improve their awareness of their own thought processes. Andrew Smith was educated at Queen's University and the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He teaches International Business and Strategy at the University of Liverpool Management School. He has published business-historical research on a wide range of companies, industries, and countries.