Entrepreneurial Biographies Are Back: Toward an Analytical Framework

Carlos Dávila

This paper presents an analytical framework for conducting biographical research on entrepreneurs (EAHE, for the method’s acronym in Spanish) that was developed since the mid-1990s at the School of Management, Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). The paper is organized into five sections. Section one portrays the revival of entrepreneurial history in the last 15 years within the innovative trends business history is experiencing. The second section presents at a glance noted recent entrepreneurial biographies; in addition, it makes reference to the surge of biographical dictionaries of entrepreneurs published in various European countries (United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain), the United States (focused on German immigrants) and Latin America (Brazil, Colombia and Mexico). The third section outlines EAHE which includes six topics to research along an entrepreneur’s life: (1) Economic, political and social context; 2) Social and economic background; 3) Economic behavior; 4) Relationship with politics and the state; 5) Life-style; 6) Mentality. Section four refers to a variety of experiences in using EAHE in research and teaching in Colombia. The final section explores its potential for comparative business history research.