Entrepreneurial ecosystems as fields: Integrating meso-level institutional theory

Carolin Auschra
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  • Freie Universität Berlin, Management-Department, Boltzmannstr. 20, 14195 Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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, Thomas Schmidt and Joerg Sydow


Contemporary works on entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) suffer from a lack of theorization. We address this problem by conceptualizing EEs as institutional fields, which is an analytical construct that is already well-elaborated on in neo-institutional theory. This theory provides a processual lens that is sensitive to the role of both institutions and agency in field structuration. Additionally, understanding EEs as fields can help to capture dynamics within EEs as well as their relationships with other fields. Following this approach, entrepreneurial issue fields mainly focus on debates around entrepreneurship and new venture creation, whereas entrepreneurial exchange fields focus on products and services produced by and offering support for a set of mainly industry-specific new ventures. In addition, we discuss mechanisms for transformations between both types of fields.

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