Small business and entrepreneurship research: The way through paradigm incommensurability



Publication Details

Watkins-Mathys, L. & Lowe, S. 2005, 'Small business and entrepreneurship research: The way through paradigm incommensurability', International Small Business Journal, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 657-677.


There have been a number of debates recently around the development of paradigms and research methodologies in the field of small business and entrepreneurship research. This article focuses on paradigm commensurability by demonstrating how an interpretive framework can be used that, unlike Burrell and Morgan's (1979) framework, eliminates walls between paradigms and enables paradigms to interpret other paradigms. The authors draw upon Capra's (1997) conceptual triad to illustrate how a framework based on wisdom rather than knowledge alone provides strategic options for paradigm development in the field. The article acknowledges the systematic analysis of paradigms undertaken by Grant and Perren (2002) and indeed uses their thorough review of the literature as a basis to illustrate how the interpretive framework can be applied, but rejects their use of Burrell and Morgan's framework for this purpose because it has the undesired effect of introducing paradigm incommensurability to the field.

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