Entrepreneurship as One Element in Regional Innovation Systems


research interest:

A  student  of  regional  development  can  identify  two  general types of explanations for why some regions develop as they do. The first explanation relates to the emergence of innovative activities carried out by pioneering entrepreneurs  that  may  transform the society and economy. In literature, this  is  referred  to  as  impressive stories of renewal and change, where regions  have changed from old and heavily industrialized regions to modern high  tech  poles,  examples being Teesside in Northeast of England and the Öresund Region in Denmark and Sweden.
    The  other  type  of  explanation is related to path dependency, where present  developments  build  on past decisions and activities. In apparent contrast  to  the  first  explanation,  path  dependency  is  often seen as negative  constraints for future development where some regions continue to develop  along  established  regional trajectories and ultimately result in lock-ins.  In  this  perspective, regions may be caught in destructive path dependency processes and only by breaking free from their constraining past they  can  change  their  declining path. This type of regional development process is thus practically “entrepreneurless”.
    My   study   challenges  the  general  way  of  dichotomizing  between entrepreneurship  and  path dependency as two opposing concepts. Rather, it can  be posited that these concepts are related to each other and it can be argued  that  such  a  view  can provide a better understanding of regional development  processes.  An  important  building  block for the theoretical discussion  is the idea that even such disruptive activities as revolutions are  never  really  discontinuous  as  informal constraints are imbedded in societies.  Thus, entrepreneurs can create new regional paths, but they are also  to  some  extent  related  to  existing  patterns and behavior in the region.  Against  this  background,  the  aim  of  this study is to build a conceptual   framework   with   several  propositions  that  discusses  the relationship  between  path  dependency  and entrepreneurship in a regional context, focusing in particular on their complementary nature.

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