What has experimental research told us about entrepreneurship so far? A recent article by
Sanasi, Cavallo, and Ghezzi, titled Entrepreneurship, Innovation and the Scientific Method: a Critical Analysis of Five Experimental Approaches, examines published experimental studies over the past three decades to see what they have helped reveal, where they have potential shortcomings, and where there is room for future research. Here are some of the main findings.
- The number of experimental studies has increased significantly but slowly in the past two decades.
The number of experiments published in top-tier journals grew from four to about 23 from 1990 to the 2000s, with another 20+ published since 2010. The authors argue that this is still a nascent form of entrepreneurship research. For example, compared to other fields of research, there is no specialized high-quality outlet that for experiments in entrepreneurship.
- Research on the relationships between different financial stakeholders was the most common topic studied in these experiments.
These types of experiments comprised about a quarter of the studies reviewed in the article.
- Very few experiments focus on the impact of environmental; i.e. cultural, economic, legal, or market factors.
Only about 8 percent of the experiments in the study evaluated these types of factors. The authors highlighted this as the main opportunity for research going forward.
- Field experiments are recommended for further research.
Natural field experiments, which take place in naturally occurring but controlled situations, are still very rare in entrepreneurship research. Most experiments are conducted in more traditional, controlled settings, and the authors suggest that one way forward is to replicate some of these in more realistic field settings. This can build a better understanding of how the findings of the original studies change in a more realistic settings. They can also build more knowledge on how to conduct these types of experiments, since the field is relatively new.
Contributed by Maha AbdelAzim
The full article can be accessed here.