Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 405–418 | Cite as

Entrepreneurship as a new liberal art

  • Ted BakerEmail author
  • E. Erin Powell


The skills and knowledge required to engage in entrepreneurship are vital elements of participating fully in contemporary society. We consider the “crisis” in the liberal arts in the USA and show why entrepreneurship can and should be considered fundamental to a renewed and contemporary conception of the liberal arts. Integral to our arguments is a pragmatic view that considers research and teaching in entrepreneurship to be inextricably intertwined. By examining the study of organizations across several social science and humanities disciplines, we highlight the relative narrowness of the current empirical domain of much entrepreneurship research associated with business schools and management journals and develop examples showing the potential theoretical value of substantially expanding the empirical domain of entrepreneurship as organization creation for both research and teaching. Our argument is that the study of entrepreneurship as a new liberal art can be an important source of individual and group emancipation and a fundamental means through which entrepreneurs can become who they want to be while creating the impact on the world they envision. We offer this as a statement of the appropriate domain of entrepreneurship to guide our approach to both research and teaching.


Entrepreneurship Growth Founder identity Liberal arts Resourcefulness 

JEL classification

L26 I21 A13 D21 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  2. 2.University of Cape Town Graduate School of BusinessCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.College of BusinessClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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