Complex ecological view: The right view for Entrepreneurship.

The right worldview is a necessary precondition for sustainable and effective design. If the world view is reductionist or simplistic, ignoring important unknowns, the design will reflect this weakness. As accepted by many scholars (and practitioners equally) previously, entrepreneurship is a naturally complex system, and it is necessary to study entrepreneurial phenomena by applying the frame of complexity science(McKelvey, 2004). Despite this reality, most entrepreneurship models and perspectives are reductionist in their origin, prescription, or omission. To solve this weakness I think we need to start with an ecological world view, i.e a complex, dynamic, connected, and evolving ecology. 

In order to clarify what I mean by the ecological view let’s first go through the existing world views and a few alternatives. After that, I will introduce the Ecological view to show how it is different from other world views. 

1. Single Model 

This is the world view based on a single model, tool, or method which assumes superiority over all others.  Most models in entrepreneurship come under this category. They are proposed as solutions for the problems of the existing one and are pitched as better than the previous one. E.g. Plan Vs Lean startup, effectuation Vs causation, Theory-based view vs Lean. Using the antecedent as a frame to marginally improve the model is also the standard practice.  

2. Multiple-Model Ensembles.

This world view suggests the complementary use of multiple models or methods. This is the same idea as suggested by Scott Page as model thinking and the Ensemble forecasting model used in weather prediction.  In entrepreneurship prescriptive side, the trace of multiple model world view can be found in many scholarly works. For e.g. Sarasvathy(2001)stressed the importance of both effectuation and causation. Mansoori and Lackéus(2019) suggested using multiple methods complementing each other. It is also a common practice that most university curriculum holds the position of teaching multiple models.

This world view is by default inclusive of the previous one.

3. Cognitive-Diversity 

This world view suggests the use of not only formal models but all kinds of cognitive diversity. Eg. Models, methods, theories, heuristics, etc. We can categorize this worldview as cognitive diversity. Scott Page defines Cognitive Diversity as “Differences in information, knowledge, representations, mental models, and heuristic, to better outcomes on specific tasks such as problem-solving, predicting, and innovating.” 

This world view is by default inclusive of all the previous ones. 

4. Holistic Diversity 

This world view suggests using not only Cognitive-Diversity but also other kinds of diversities, i.e. diversity in people, networks, information sources, relational-expertise, institutions, culture, location, specialization, artifacts, tools, etc. 

This world view is by default inclusive of all the previous ones.


5. Ecological View 

The ecological world view involves a continuous effort to capture the true ecological reality in its dynamics. In addition to the previously listed holistic diversity, this view is inclusive of realities like complexity, dynamics, evolution, contentedness, interaction, etc. Complexity involves features and dynamics as in a complex adaptive system. The idea of evolution suggests that existing elements interact, evolve, co-evolve into new diversities, variations, etc. It must also involve Cumulative cultural evolution(and intelligence) as proposed by human evolution studies. In addition, an ecosystem is connected, hence no clear local-global separation is possible. Finally, the ecological view sanctions the use of a contextualized view that suggests that every human context is an emergent property and hence each context has unique types of characters.

This world view is by default inclusive of all the previous ones.

This worldview is not only inclusive but also represent the true ecological reality

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