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The Sociology of Entrepreneurship

Patricia H. Thornton
Annual Review of Sociology
Vol. 25 (1999), pp. 19-46
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/223496
Page Count: 28
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The Sociology of Entrepreneurship
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Abstract

Recent research on entrepreneurship by sociologists has focused on subsectors of the discipline rather than on entrepreneurship as a class. This review draws insights from diverse literatures to develop a sociological perspective on entrepreneurship as a whole. Until recently, the supply-side perspective, which focuses on the individual traits of entrepreneurs, has been the dominant school of research. Newer work from the demand-side perspective has focused on rates, or the context in which entrepreneurship occurs. This review emphasizes this less developed demand-side perspective-in particular, the influence of firms and markets on how, where, and why new enterprises are founded. I take stock of the differences and separation in the two perspectives and argue that sociological frameworks, an embeddedness perspective, institutional and ecological theory, and multilevel models can be used to integrate the two schools and extend their research implications.

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