9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Professional Knowledge and Learning Building I, Auditório 2

Elements for the discussion of the "entrepreneurship movement" in Portugal: the professional group of SMEs entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship has gained particular importance in recent years and is recognised as a mean of reducing the growing trends of unemployment and as a mean of mitigating the effects of the saturation of the dominant employee work model.
Indeed, by awarding different kinds of support and incentives, a set of public policies - particularly the modern active employment policies, closely connected in our country with policies targeted to the creation and development of SMEs - has attracted a considerable number of workers, non-active people and young people who finish their studies into launching small businesses or enterprises, giving force to an entrepreneurship movement able to boost a reinvigoration and emergence of many small businesses and giving new shape to the professional group of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) entrepreneurs.
In this context, it is important to assess and discuss the existence of changes related to professional paths, social trajectories and qualification?s profile of this professional group.
This paper follows an on-going doctoral thesis about the reality of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Portugal and its relation to the so-called entrepreneurship movement. The study has two main analytical axes: SME entrepreneurs and the concrete entrepreneurial units. The key goals of this project, presented here in broad strokes, are to identify and to analyse trends of change and persistence permeating these two analytical axes. Regarding the first axis, which should be deepened under this Research Network, the methodological design of the research includes carrying out comprehensive interviews to a limited but diverse group of SME entrepreneurs.These biographical in-depth interviews will allow us to rethink social inequalities regarding this profession.
The aim of this paper is, therefore, to share and discuss relevant issues arising from possible theoretical and empirical advances made in this specific dimension and to present a brief statistical and comparative portrait of the attitudes and representations towards entrepreneurship. Analytical priority will be given to the Portuguese context, always bearing in mind the European context which we are part of.