Places are not like people : the perils of anthropomorphism within entrepreneurial ecosystems research

Brown, Ross and Mawson, Suzanne and Rocha, Augusto (2022) Places are not like people : the perils of anthropomorphism within entrepreneurial ecosystems research. Regional Studies. ISSN 0034-3404 (In Press)

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Abstract

The concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) has quickly established itself as a major focus within regional development research. A key conceptual framing commonly adopted by scholars theorising about the growth and evolutionary dynamics of EEs is via anthropomorphised life-cycle models. In this debate article we offer a critique and argumentation as to why the validity of this approach is spurious and contestable. Arguably, life-cycle based models overly simplify these complex spatial entrepreneurial phenomena and convey the temporal evolution of EEs as a simplistic, linear, deterministic and path dependent process. Despite the seductively simplistic appeal of life-cycle models, places are not like people and the uncritical adoption of such crude anthropomorphic framings potentially weakens this research field, at the same time running the risk of mis-informing policy makers.

ORCID iDs

Brown, Ross, Mawson, Suzanne ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1983-514X and Rocha, Augusto;