'Entrepreneurship as a collective achievement' – can governments act entrepreneurially? The Wilson government, 1964-70

MacKenzie, Niall (2013) 'Entrepreneurship as a collective achievement' – can governments act entrepreneurially? The Wilson government, 1964-70. In: Association of Business Historians Annual Conference, 2013-06-28 - 2013-06-30, Lancashire Business School & the Lancashire Institute for Economic & Business Research.

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Abstract

Harvey and Mason in their introduction to the special issue on Entrepreneurship in Business History in 2012, introduced a paper by Maclean and Nayak on the Indian telecommunications industry, 1923-2009 as seeking “to shift the focus from individualised explanations of entrepreneurship based on motivation and behaviour towards seeing entrepreneurship as a collective achievement“ (Harvey & Mason, 2012). Maclean and Nayak’s paper sought to “demonstrate the importance of history to entrepreneurship”; this paper seeks to do that but also to demonstrate how current understanding and conceptualisations of entrepreneurship can help provide a more nuanced understanding of history. Using the experience of the Wilson governments 1964-70, the paper seeks to answer the question of whether or not governments can act entrepreneurially and if so what implication does this have for our current understanding of governmental actions in respect of business and economic development more generally, as well as current characterisations of entrepreneurship. In doing this, the paper also addresses the apparent disconnect between business history and more mainstream business studies literature identified by Decker (2013) and offers up a potential new avenue for exploration for both business historians and scholars of entrepreneurship alike.