Entrepreneurial learning as practice: a video-ethnographic analysis

Neil Aaron Thompson, Edina Illes

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Despite the gains that have been made by adopting contemporary theories of practice in entrepreneurship studies, the field still lacks a comprehensive practice theory of entrepreneurial learning. In this article, we develop a practice theory of entrepreneurial learning by elaborating on the relations between practicing, knowing and learning.

Design/methodology/approach: Using a video ethnography of a two-day “Startup Weekend for Refugees” event in Amsterdam, our aim is to further theorise the relational, material and embodied nature of entrepreneurial learning through analysing video fragments of naturally occurring practices.

Findings: Our findings demonstrate that entrepreneurial learning transpires through, and is emergent from, practices and their relations. On the one hand, practitioners learn to competently participate in various practices by sensing, observing and experimenting with the meaning of others' gestures and utterances. On the other, the learning of new opportunities for value creation emerges as practitioners connect various practices to one another through translation.

Originality/value: This article contributes by illustrating and explaining real-time instances of learning to develop a practice theory of entrepreneurial learning. This contributes to the literature by detailing the relations between learning, knowing and practising entrepreneurship, which leads to a novel alternative to existing individual- and organisational-level learning theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-599
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Issue number3
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021


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