Research critically: Tourism entrepreneurship in Croatia

Skokic, V. and Morrison, A.J. and Lynch, P.A. (2009) Research critically: Tourism entrepreneurship in Croatia. In: 3rd International Critical Tourism Studies Conference, 2009-06-21 - 2009-06-24. (Unpublished)

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A long list of established researchers has explored and contributed to the field of entrepreneurship from a multitude of disciplines, but the area still remains hotly debated. The knowledge created is mainly drawn from the perspective of developed economies and it hardly can provide an insight into the behaviour of entrepreneurs in different cultures, especially in developing and former socialist countries. Entrepreneurship development in each country directly reflects its economical, political and social structure, thus knowledge creation is context dependent. On the other hand, tourism scholars argue that the field of tourism entrepreneurship has not received the level of attention it deserves (Ioannides and Petersen, 2003; Thomas, 2004). They also stress that knowledge creation and the content of tourism studies are dependent upon a business perspective (Tribe, 2007). This perspective has failed to explain the motivation of numerous small businesses in tourism which defy models of economic rationality, that of lifestyle entrepreneurs. Since Williams et al., (1989) initially observed the concept, the majority of studies conducted within western developed economies have confirmed the dominance of lifestyle motivation among the vast majority of small tourism enterprises. At this point it is crucial to recognize that within the tourism sector there exists a wide range of entrepreneurial cultures, from a strong profit and growth orientation through to those entrepreneurs concerned more with non-economic ones. This paper critically explores the nature of cumulated knowledge in entrepreneurship and tourism, how that reflects on our understanding of both phenomena and proposes other than traditional approaches in knowledge production by seeking more flexible forms and the explicit positioning of the researcher within the research process. Arguing that understanding of entrepreneurship can be enhanced through contextualisation of theories within a specific cultural and industry sector this paper is explicitly incorporating the dynamics of social setting. To be specific, research was undertaken within the Dalmatia region of Croatia, a former socialist country. The research challenge is to be cognisant of the danger of partial and uncritical knowledge creation through disciplinary and/or methodological, ideological bias or power.