Competence or omniscience? assessing entrepreneurship in the Victorian and Edwardian British paper industry

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In the literature on British economic decline entrepreneurship is typically assessed by its outcome. By contrast, this paper argues that the soundness of entrepreneurship is best tested by viewing it ex ante. In other words, it is the process, and not the product, of entrepreneurship that is important in determining its quality. When this is accepted, competence, rather than infallibility, becomes the criterion by which entrepreneurship is best judged. In the latter half of the article, this approach is applied to the British paper industry's search for a new source of cellulose in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-259
Number of pages30
JournalBusiness History Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

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