Title: Entrepreneurship: opportunistic or excellent?

Authors: Carter Crockett

Addresses: Department of Economics & Business, Westmont College, 955 La Paz. Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93108, USA

Abstract: Before we can explore issues of moral progress in entrepreneurship, we must settle the matter of entrepreneurial purpose. The moral implications at the entrepreneurial nexus of individual and opportunity are often taken-for-granted or ignored. Using moral philosophy as an analytical aid in deciphering entrepreneurial ideology-in-use, two competing paradigms for understanding contemporary business venturing are discussed in this paper. Is entrepreneurship an opportunistic or excellent activity? With the analytical and contextual grounding provided by comparative case studies, we can explore this question and the moral legacy established by the founder. In this conceptual discussion, the opportunistic view is found to contain an easily comprehended set of assumptions, while the primary benefit of an excellent, or virtuous, paradigm lies in its comprehensive approach for dealing with complex issues. Such an exploration reveals the hidden assumptions embedded in entrepreneurial purpose, allows us to gauge moral progress (or regress), and equips us to make and encourage better moral judgements in the moral crucible of entrepreneurship.

Keywords: egoism; excellence; virtue; opportunism; moral legacy; entrepreneurship; moral crucible; paradigm; comparative case study; entrepreneurial purpose; moral philosophy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2008.017388

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2008 Vol.6 No.1, pp.28 - 53

Published online: 04 Mar 2008 *

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