Abstract

Given the growing call for the restoration of the place of entrepreneurship in economic theory, familiarity with the works of Gustav Schmoller would be a great asset for a better understanding of the nature of the enterprise and the role of entrepreneurs. This article examines Schmoller's still-underutilized research, which makes him one of the founding fathers of research in entrepreneurship. It illustrates Schmoller's distinct contextual perspective on entrepreneurship. The most compelling notion is the emphasis on and accentuation of the modern enterprise as a special form of institution that can be characterized by three dimensions: (1) the macroscopic dimension refers to the enterprise as a unitary corporate actor, (2) the microscopic dimension encompasses the organizational structure of the enterprise, and (3) the metascopic dimension describes the institutional link between the organization and society. These three dimensions also shape Schmoller's “psychological-ethical” idea of the entrepreneur as an economic and social actor.

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