Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to address the fundamental nature of skill and identify how an examination of skill may be introduced into theoretical understanding of the entrepreneurial process. Design/methodology/approach – The paper undertakes a fundamental review of skill. Findings – Skill is an under-researched construct. Skills once learnt are discounted, undervalued and largely ignored, excepting when they are not executed. Skills are multidimensional and continuous, and context-related. They are not the same as competencies. Skills associated with the entrepreneurial process are primarily theoretical constructs and have been associated with opportunity recognition theory. The initiation of the process through alertness may be challenged and substituted with identification of a social/market valued need. Adopting different paradigmatic approaches to entrepreneurial behaviour yields different issues including problems of measurement and how skills are valued socially, politically and economically. Insufficient empirical research has been carried out to test theory, and identify critical skills.
Practical implications – Further empirical research is needed to test and build theory that resonates with practitioner – in particular of the entrepreneur – understanding. Education and training policies should reflect sound theory and practice and where appropriate fund further work on the nature and development of entrepreneurial skills.
Originality/value – A fundamental review of skill has not been carried out academically since 1990; this paper is timely as it not only addresses that gap, but develops the work by applying an understanding the issues of researching skill to the entrepreneurial process.
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