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A Systems View Across Time and Space

Fifty years of artisan entrepreneurship: a systematic literature review


Culturally based products and businesses have become increasingly common, drawing attention to artisan entrepreneurship. A small number of studies have comprehensively reviewed artisan entrepreneurship in terms of its antecedents and consequences, as is examined in this study. Specifically, this research looked at the factors that contribute to successful artisan entrepreneurship, managing environmental dynamism, markets, and institutional pressures. This study focuses on developing antecedents and consequences that may be used as a reference for the development of artisan entrepreneurship. A systematic literature review was conducted on 72 papers from the last 50 years from the first quartile of the Scopus database. This study identified that environmental, social, organizational, and individual factors could determine the development of artisan entrepreneurship and have consequences on social, organizational, and individual levels. This framework may aid artisan entrepreneurship and stakeholders in identifying the factors needed in the development of artisan entrepreneurship. The main elements of the resulting research agenda include suggestions for theory development, methodology, antecedents, and consequences.


In recent years, artisan entrepreneurship has attracted increasing attention in entrepreneurship and management literature (Arias & Cruz, 2019; Hill, 2020; Igwe, 2018; Tregear, 2005). Increased interest in artisan entrepreneurship has been due to the expansion of creative industries and focus on goods and services that have a cultural component (Ratten et al., 2019), such as those using traditional skills, innovation (Hoyte, 2018; Marques et al., 2018; Rashid & Ratten, 2021; Ratten et al., 2019), cultural identities, and social networks (Bhattacharjya et al., 2018; Brooker & Joppe, 2014; Hill, 2020; Rashid & Ratten, 2021; Sehnem, et al., 2020; Solomon & Mathias, 2020; Wherry, 2006; Wu et al., 2021; Tregear, 2005). Moreover, artisan entrepreneurship is a creative industry that connects people and cultures on a global scale (Rashid & Ratten, 2021).

Much artisan entrepreneurship is centred on the clothing and grocery industry because artisans prefer to create products tied to cultural heritage (Bravi & Murmura, 2021; Lindbergh & Schwarts, 2021; Tregear, 2005) to have an advantage (Brooker & Joppe, 2017; Kapferer, 2014; Wherry, 2006) and offer unique products, which are the distinguishing features of the market (Marques et al., 2018). However, a number of studies have discussed artisan entrepreneurship outside of clothing and food industries, looking at artisan products related to agriculture (Hilton, 2006; Torres et al., 2020). For example, Pret and Cogan (2018) focused more on understanding seven important themes in artisanal entrepreneurship, namely behavioural context, motivation, development, resources, diversity, and classification. Unfortunately, this study does not explore the antecedents related to factors that may be developed in response to market pressures nor the ability to survive in the midst of competition. According to Jones and Gatrell (2014), this systematic literature review is key in understanding existing knowledge and identifying new research directions.

The diversity of research that has emerged on artisan entrepreneurship is for several reasons. A number of studies have, for example, looked at artisan entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial products, and the direct or indirect relationship between tourism competitiveness, environmental impacts, and artisan activities (Arias & Cruz, 2019; Hoyte, 2018; Ratten et al., 2019; Salas-Vargas et al., 2021; Soukhathammavong & Park, 2019; Teixeria & Ferreira, 2019). Furthermore, much of the research on artisan entrepreneurship has found that there are stories in the works of artisans related to skills, innovation, motivation, and entrepreneurial personality (Hoyte, 2018; Marques et al., 2018; Rashid & Ratten, 2021; Ratten et al., 2019;). Artisan entrepreneurship experiences challenges related to limited resources, cultural identity, policies, social networks (Bhattacharjya et al., 2018; Brooker et al., 2014; Hill, 2020; Sehnem et al., 2020; Solomon & Mathias, 2020; Tregear, 2005; Wherry, 2006; Wu et al., 2021), and economic and environmental change (Drummond et al., 2018; Friedrichs, 1976; Nason, 1984). However, the factors that enable artisan entrepreneurs to deal with environmental dynamics and the resulting consequences remain largely unknown, becoming the focus of this study.

Being responsive and proactive on the global market is important in artisan entrepreneurship achieving success (Bislimi, 2022; Blundel, 2002; Fuller, 2003; Paige & Littrell, 2002). In Western cultures, the production of artisan goods reflects the qualities of the community, embodying dignity, skill, integrity, self-confidence, and an emphasis on factors surrounding skills related to artisanal production (Teixeira & Ferreira, 2019). Therefore, a region may develop its competitiveness by taking advantage of its cultural heritage, social networks, and artisan products (Franceschi, 2020; Oral et al., 2021; Ratten et al., 2019; Salas-Vargas et al., 2021). However, without understanding factors that lead to the success of artisan entrepreneurship, there may be a lack of support for its development. Therefore, the research questions for this paper are as follows:

  1. 1.

    What factors enable artisanal entrepreneurship to deal with environmental dynamics and resulting consequences in existing literature?

  2. 2.

    What possibilities are available to future research to further develop and expand on existing literature in this field?

To answer these research questions, this research refers to a study conducted by Supriharyanti and Sukoco (2023) using Tranfield et al.’s (2003) method, namely a systematic review that involves conducting complete literature study through a scientifically replicable and transparent process. This method was undertaken on the Scopus database search for studies published between 1976 and 2023 with several criteria, such as only in the field of Business, Management, and Accounting, the first quartile, and English literature. A study assessment and in-depth analysis of each selected and extracted paper were also performed (Sweeney et al., 2018) to determine which specific papers and components were relevant to the study.

This research makes a number of contributions. Firstly, the study synthesizes existing studies on how artisan entrepreneurship develops (Hilton, 2006; Kapferer, 2014; Nason, 1984; Popelka & Littrell, 1991; Ramachandran et al., 2012; Sturmer, 1979; Tregear, 2005) by developing antecedents and consequences, expanding on the success factors of artisan entrepreneurship developed by Loarne-Lemaire et al. (2020), which focus more on antecedents in developing artisan entrepreneurship. This focus is different from that conducted by Pret and Cogan (2018), which focuses on understanding seven important themes in artisan entrepreneurship, namely behaviour context, motivation, development, resources, diversity, and classification. These findings offer insights into the antecedents related to factors that may be developed in response to market pressures, as well as an ability to survive amongst competition. According to Jones and Gatrell (2014), systematic literature reviews are important in understanding existing knowledge and identifying new research directions. For example, reviewing existing gaps in artisan entrepreneurship literature will motivate researchers with an interest in artisan entrepreneurship to conduct research, particularly in terms of artisan entrepreneurship in facing environmental dynamism with a quantitative approach.


This study performed a systematic literature review, a method that involves the search for exhaustive literature studies through a transparent, scientifically replicable process (Tranfield et al., 2003) into a structured review that explores approaches widely used by reviewed articles such as methods, theories, publications, research problems, and countries (Paul & Criado, 2020). This process consisted of several stages, the first of which was exploration of the topic. The authors used their expertise to assess knowledge related to artisan entrepreneurship to define topics and concepts used as a key search (Bodolica & Spraggon, 2018) and identify research questions and objectives that would guide the literature search (Jocevski et al., 2020) as this study aims to determine what existing studies have examined.

The second stage involved searching and filtering the literature by adopting a snowballing procedure (Wohlin, 2014), such as developing a start set and iteration by applying criteria to determine the appropriate article as follows:

  1. 1.

    The database used was Scopus because its content contains scientific publications from publishers around the world based on scientific criteria and rigour (Baas et al., 2019), and limited the number of analysed articles, as the review was targeted to including leading peer reviewed journals;

  2. 2.

    The period of 1976–2023 was chosen on the basis that, over the last 50 years, artisan publications have increased and Western countries such as the US, Germany, and Spain are active in developing culturally charged products, as evidenced by the existence of traditional technologies (such as looms) used to support business activities (Nason, 1984);

  3. 3.

    This type of research source focuses on final articles and not conference papers because they are not comprehensive (Gonzalez-Albo & Bordon, 2011);

  4. 4.

    First quartile journals (Q1) based on Scopus (sources) represent categorised journal prestige and prestige and effect of journals categorized as journal visibility in the academic community (Garcia et al., 2011a, 2011b); and

  5. 5.

    Only papers in English were chosen as it is the most commonly used language for articles published in international journals and for global academia (Lopes, et al., 2021; Supriharyanti & Sukoco, 2023).

The following stage of the process involved searching for papers from publishers such as Sage Journal, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Emerald Insight, Wiley-Blackwell, and Elsevier (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1
figure 1

Research protocol

In the literature search and screening procedure, the authors developed an initial setting that would identify papers to generate an introduction related to the research questions by applying a keyword a search technique of “artisan” and abstracts that included this keyword. It was then necessary to conduct an iteration process to determine suitability. Each study deemed relevant was then discussed for a quality audit, which required determining the clarity of the research question, the appropriateness of the methodology and rigour used, the sample size selected, the specification of the theoretical framework and measurement approach, and the validity of findings. The studies chosen for the research include those on craft, fashion, and other products that carry an artisanal element. One example is in Salas-Vargas et al., (2021), in Environmental impact of Oaxaca cheese production and wastewater from artisanal dairies under two scenarios in Aculco, State of Mexico, in which entrepreneurial artisans created small batches of unique products manually and with tools only as support (Arias & Cruz, 2019). The majority of artisan entrepreneurship focuses on clothing and food ingredients, and creators prefer to produce because the products are tied to their cultural heritage (Tregear, 2005). In general, artisan entrepreneurship prioritizes craftsman skills and techniques that include local potential, culture, and authenticity.

The third stage of the process was assessment and study selection. In this phase, a literature search sampling and screening procedure was performed by reviewing each selected abstract and full text of the chosen studies. If the articles did not meet the predetermined criteria, they were excluded from the final dataset. Furthermore, to ensure objectivity, the study conducted a review with other authors to conduct independent selection and compare with one another.

The fourth stage of the research was literature analysis, which involved conducting an in-depth analysis of the selected studies to summarize the parts considered important and mapped them. The Excel spreadsheet table proposed by Sweeney et al. (2018) was used as a guide for analytical reading. A total of 72 articles were extracted based on their titles, journals, authors, years, research questions, phenomenon gaps, research gaps, methods, context, types of artisans, variables used, findings, theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and recommendations for further research.

Results and discussion of results

This section describes the responses to the research questions through a structured review focusing on widely used definition, theories, methodologies, and constructs. This section further expands on results with an analysis of units, countries, themes, and leading researchers in the artisan entrepreneurship literature.

Overview of artisan entrepreneurship

Artisan entrepreneurship dates back to the seventeenth century, as presented by Friedrichs (1976) in his research on wool weavers in the German city of Nordlingen facing difficulties in dealing with economic and environmental changes. According to Nason (1984), environmental dynamism did not only occur in the seventeenth century, but also occurred in the following period, during which US commercial companies aimed to enhance the quality of handicrafts to adapt to market changes and open new markets abroad. The development of artisan entrepreneurship is currently increasing because artisan entrepreneurship is at the heart of the creative economy (Rashid, 2021), one of the subsectors of the creative industry (Pret & Cogan, 2018), and due to the expansion of creative industries and increased focus on homemade goods and services (Bislimi, 2022).

This creative industry has provided sustainable community development in the global economy (Arias and Cruz, (2019) and plays an important role in communities and social networks that depend on the local environment (Ratten et al., 2019). A number of countries in Europe (Hill, 2020; Ramadani et al., 2017) have paid particular attention to artisan entrepreneurship because it has had an impact on regional competitiveness and tourism development (Teixeira & Ferreira, 2019). Artisan entrepreneurship has emerged as a culture-based business related to tourism, culture, and regional development (Hoyte, 2018), playing a central role in the country’s economic development and protection of cultural heritage (Marques et al., 2018).

Solomon and Mathias (2020) define artisan entrepreneurship as work completed by individuals who emphasize manual production, independence above conglomeration, local community above scale, and value creation above profit maximization. The existence of artisan entrepreneurship is important because of the shift towards more culture-based businesses and increasing emphasis on local, handcrafted goods related to an area’s culture and tourism. Furthermore, products such as local food and handmade clothing related to the cultural heritage of entrepreneurs (Tregear, 2005) are becomingly increasingly in demand. Culture also determines the context and environment (i.e. place, time, and certain stimuli), in which social origins, culture, and shared traditions are maintained across generations, and artisan entrepreneurship develops identity from crafts or commerce (Hoyte, 2018).

Theoretical framework

To evaluate the development of artisan entrepreneurship research, it is important to consider the dominant theoretical and methodological tools used by researchers. Of the 72 articles reviewed, only 14 mention the theoretical framework; the rest describe concepts that refer to existing studies. The following is a description of the theoretical framework used in the research to date.

Sustainable Development Theory, as used by Nayak et al. (2022), assumes that the development should meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Keeble, 1988).

According to Value Capture Theory, despite different approaches used, all areas converge to the same central idea, involving the value captured from a consumer’s characteristics to develop an offer (Graciano, et al., 2022).

Socio-technical System Theory (Appelbaum, 1997), as used by Oral et al. (2021), assumes that a series of activities are a synergistic blend of human, technology, culture, work practices, and organizational structure with the aim of increasing artisans’ overall work-life quality.

Institutional Logic Theory, as one of the developments of institutional theory, assumes that how individuals respond to competition is based on five factors, namely ignorance, compliance, defiance, compartmentalization, and combinations. These five factors were also discussed in Lindbergh and Schwartz (2021), who found that there was tension between two institutional logics, namely combination and compartmentalization.

Dynamic Capability Theory was used by Tiwari and Korneliussen (2022) and also Torres et al. (2020) to explore interaction dynamics by developing socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization (SECI) dimensions.

Social Practice Theory provides an analytical framework for Routine Deconstruction and Ritual interaction Theory. Wu et al., (2021) combines the Social Practice Theory with Ritual Interaction to explore artisanal routines consisting of three practices: cultural production; transmission; and operation.

Practice Theory explores how humans establish social interaction relationships in achieving a common goal with three cultural capitals: objectified; institutionalized; and embodied (Bourdieu, 1986, 1990). These relationships are integrated into the dynamic process faced by artisan entrepreneurship (Nicolini and Monteiro, 2017).

Social Capital Theory forms the basis of the development of artisan entrepreneurship because it is assumed that resources contained in individuals and groups are connected in a network that benefits all other parties in said network (Ramadani et al., 2017).

Actor-Network Theory posits that everything in the social and natural world exists in a network of constantly changing and complex relationships (Blundel, 2002). Drummond et al. (2018) combine the theory with the Interaction Theory based on the assumption of how one understands another, focusing on the behaviour and environmental context in maintaining an entrepreneur's business network.

Congruity Theory assumes that the role of a country's information can influence the evaluation of its products and affect the authenticity of the products produced by artisans, as well as that of raw materials and craft skills.

Collaboration Theory assumes that the extent to which owners or managers collaborate, collaborations are carried out between organizations or between groups of artisans, not intragroup such as joining associations. Furthermore, there are differences for communities included in associations but not part of associations related to marketing activities (Alonso & Bressan, 2014).

Theory of Planned Behaviour posits that intentions are determined by three constructs: attitudes; subjective norms; and perceived control. It is assumed that consumers’ beliefs in buying artisan products are based on ethical content and the desire to support social issues (Ma Jin et al., 2012).

A Wealth of Nation assumes that, given an individual's need to fulfil personal interests and generate social benefits, artisan entrepreneurship has internal motivational power concentrated on one’s importance to society and personal relationships in business (Fuller, 2003).

Competitive Advantage Theory assumes that, in the context of artisan entrepreneurship, there are different strategies for achieving success. Artisans define success by traditional criteria such as profit and growth, as well as intrinsic factors such as personal satisfaction (Paige & Littrell, 2002) (Table 1).

Table 1 Theories being used

Methodological approach

This paper presents methodological trends in artisan entrepreneurship research by reviewing the methods used in each study, which are broadly divided into qualitative, quantitative, and the mixed-methods approaches. Among the 72 articles reviewed, most employed a qualitative method with a case study approach. According to Parren and Ram (2004), qualitative methods are suitable for studying entrepreneurship and small businesses because they aid in in understanding complex situations. Furthermore, the case study approach has proven to be a useful method in providing a holistic picture in exploring and understanding meaning based on individual or group factors of social or human problems (Creswell, 2013). The philosophy and implications of case studies have received significant attention and have a considerable history in management literature (Perren & Ram, 2004).

In addition to qualitative methods, quantitative methods have been employed in a number of the reviewed studies, with the survey method most frequently being adopted. The use of this method is reasonable because surveys permit researchers to gain insights and are reliable and valid in assessing opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about behaviour and values, particularly cultural values (Ljubica et al., 2022). Larsson (1993) also explains that, with a survey, researchers may determine relationships among variables using hypothesis testing (Table 2).

Table 2 Methodological approach

Publication outlets

This systematic review found that articles related to artisan entrepreneurship literature were published in 38 first quartile journals, 19 of which were top-tier journals, with the majority being in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research (12 articles). This journal is a leading publication on the development of entrepreneurship behaviour and one of the most highly tanked journals concerned with artisan entrepreneurship. The second-largest number of artisan entrepreneurship literature studies were found in the Annals of Tourism Research, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development (four articles), followed by the Journal of Cleaner Production, Business History Review, (three articles). Furthermore, The Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Technology in Society, Tourism Management Perspectives, International Small Business Journal, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, British Food Journal, all had two articles. The following journals all had one article: Journal of Technology kin Society; Journal of Engineering and Technology Management; Journal of Knowledge Management; Journal of Business Venturing; European Journal of Marketing; Tourism Management; Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes; Management Learning; Journal Of Marketing Management; Journal Of Tourism and Cultural Change; Technological Forecasting & Social Change; Journal of Product & Brand Management; Journal of Business Research; Current Issues in Tourism; Journal of Global Fashion Marketing; Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice; Journal of Travel Research; European Business Review; Business Horizons; Tourism Review; International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management; Journal of Product Innovation Management; Journal of Management; Spirituality & Religion; Journal of Consumer Culture; Journal of fashion marketing and management, Futures; Journal of Small Business Management; Technovation; Business history; Journal of Management in Engineering; and Long Range Planning; Journal of Family Business Management; Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal; The International Journal of Logistics Management. Table 3 presents the publication outlets on the study of artisan entrepreneurship.

Table 3 Publication outlet

Countries under study

The most widely studied country was the US (n = 12) followed by the UK (n = 11). It is assumed that this finding is due to the use of traditional technologies such as looms used to support business activities. Nason (1984) states that Western countries actively develop culturally charged products. Europe and India (n = 5), Africa, Italy and Ireland (n = 4), Nigeria and Mexico (n = 3), Australia, Portugal, China, Brazil and Spanyol (n = 2) are followed by several countries, including Afghanistan, Sweden, Brazil, Laos, Spain, Japan, Thailand, New York, Denmark, Kosovo, German, Aland, Vietnam, Serbia and Croatia (n = 1). These findings indicate that studies in Western countries dominate publications of high repute (Q1) over regions such as Asia because varied cultural contexts lead to different motivations and entrepreneurial behaviour, and US commercial companies appreciate and purchase artisan products to a larger extent (Nason, 1984). Table 4 presents countries in which there have been studies into artisan entrepreneurship.

Table 4 Countries under study

Authors in artisan entrepreneurship research

This review, to assess the extent of authors’ contribution to the development of artisan entrepreneurship literature, adopted the method used by Canabal and White (2008), which identified how many articles on artisan entrepreneurship were published by each researcher and weighted them based on the frequency with which papers were published. Table 5 presents the authors with the highest number of studies.

Table 5 Top artisan entrepreneurship researchers by frequence

These findings suggest that the author that has contributed most significantly to the field is Littrell, followed by Ratten, whereas all other authors have conducted one study. These results indicate that there is still little research on artisan entrepreneurship conducted by researchers published in leading journals. Furthermore, studies into artisan entrepreneurship have been dominated by women. This finding is reasonable because the majority of artisans are female, and people tend to work with individuals that share characteristics such as gender (Trevino et al., 2018).


The results of this study suggest that much of the research on artisan entrepreneurship has been conducted by scholars, in which innovation is a theme often reviewed. This theme is reasonable because innovation is one of the main factors of increased turnover (Tiwari & Korneliussen, 2022; Rashid & Ratten, 2021; Ratten et al., 2019; Marque, et al., 2018; Hoyte, 2018) (Fig. 2 and Table 6).

Fig. 2
figure 2

The theme of artisan entrepreneurship

Table 6 The theme of artisan entrepreneurship

Citation analysis

This study examined the most influential articles using a citation analysis of data retrieved from consisting of the total number of citations. Documents were reviewed from 1976 to 2023, with the highest number of citations being 101 in 2002. This finding is reasonable because the three papers with the most citations were published in top-tier journals, namely the Journal of Small Business Management, Business Horizons, Entrepreneurship Theory, and Practice. High-status journals can provide the benefits of citing publications, as well as the perceived value of high status from journals not only rooted in positions within the academic community, but also placed within a wider ranking ecosystem (Salandra et al., 2021). Table 7 presents the most influential studies (Fig. 3 and Table 7).

Table 7 Top influential articles
Fig. 3
figure 3

Top influential articles

Recent research framework

This section presents a conceptual framework that describes the antecedents and consequences of a systematically reviewed study into artisan entrepreneurship. The study used the framework developed by Pret and Cogan (2018), which focuses on seven main themes related to the study of artisan entrepreneurship: behaviour; context; motivation; development; resources; diversity; and classification. The antecedents and consequences were developed to describe the antecedents as inputs and consequences as outputs in an effort to develop artisan entrepreneurship. These findings were derived from 72 studies identified in the systematic review. Figure 1 presents a framework for the findings of this study in terms of the identified factors.

Antecedents in developing artisan entrepreneurship

This section groups antecedents in the development of artisan entrepreneurship into four categories, namely environmental, social, organizational, and individual factors. Innovation (organizational factor) has been reviewed and discussed in a number of studies, which makes sense because innovation in the craftsman sector, particularly in the traditions and capacities of craftsmen, in a technical domain, in empowering actors involved in new market trends, among other innovative characteristics that attract tourism, such as ensuring that the authenticity of the area and their cultural heritage do not disappear (Teixeira and Ferreira, 2019). Therefore, the ability to innovate in developing artisan entrepreneurship is a key factor. In some villages in Oaxaca, Mexico, artisans employ traditional techniques of producing textiles. Initially, artisans weaved textiles for use within their communities or local trade. Several artisan entrepreneurs in Teotitlan de1 Valle, Oaxaca, then developed tourism and export markets for their handmade textiles, and artisans have learned to understand market needs so that the products that they create meet these needs (Popelka & Littrell, 1991; Tiwari & Korneliussen, 2022).

Another antecedent frequently reviewed is cultural identity (social factors). Previous research has found how cultural heritage is increasingly important in different ways and at varying economic levels (Ratten et al., 2019; Teixeira and Ferreira, 2019), and that regions can develop competitiveness by taking advantage of their cultural heritage and artisan skills (Hill, 2020; Oral et al., 2021; Salas-Vargaz et al., 2021). Artisans are characterized as individuals who practise certain types of trades, in which manual techniques are preferred, such as textiles and metal tools (Moreno and Leiirell, 2001; Popelka & Littrell, 1991; Nason, 1984).

Consequences of developing artisan entrepreneurship

The consequences of developing artisan entrepreneurship are grouped into three categories, namely social, organizational, and individual consequences. Social consequences are based on the quality of one’s social life (Franceschi, 2020; Hill, 2020; Nayak et al., 2022; Ramadani et al., 2017). As found by Tregear (2005), artisans strike a balance between community involvement and commercial success with which they feel comfortable. Cooperation in the form of social collaboration may be used to create solutions related to the capital and funding system to enhance the creative economy business performance and increase the quality of artisans’ social life (Hill, 2020). Social identity is also the consequence of developing artisan entrepreneurship because it is focused on a common goal (socio-economic). After all, small businesses are the result of this focus (Fuller, 2003) and strengthening their social identity (Rytkonen, et al., 2023; Riddering, 2016) (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4
figure 4

Antecedents and consequences


This study employed a structured review, the results of which show that theory, methodology, and state require further discussion. Theoretically, there are limitations to the theories and phenomena explored. As well as the phenomenon of the demand to have the ability to innovate (Brooker & Joppe, 2014; Hagtvedt et al., 2019; Marques et al., 2018; Rashid & Ratten, 2021; Ratten et al., 2019), confronted with cultural identity (Cheah et al., 2016; Hilton, 2006; Kepferer, 2014; Nason, 1984; Ratten et al., 2019; Soukhathammavong, 2019; Wherry, 2006), methodologically, literature. Artisan entrepreneurship has largely been studied using qualitative methods to explore the phenomenon of artisan entrepreneurship as socially constructed and highly contextual knowledge of reality, as revealed with a comprehensive description (Solomon & Mathias, 2020) and explored by in-depth interviews through quantitative methods and primary and secondary data. The country with the largest number of studies on artisan entrepreneurship is the US, whereas Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Laos, and Japan, have been explored with a limited number of studies.

This study focuses on artisan entrepreneurship, which has mostly been studied in a Western context, where development is increasingly comprehensive. Most of the reviewed studies have explored different methods to develop artisan entrepreneurship. This study explores this field through the framework of antecedents and consequences. The results of the analysis show that there are a number of environmental, social, organizational, and individual factors. Organizational factors, specifically the ability to innovate, play a dominant role and have been more widely explored in the development of artisan entrepreneurship (Wu et al., 2021; Solomon & Mathias, 2020; Torres et al., 2020).


Main conclusions

This study explored artisan entrepreneurship literature, which has grown significantly in the last 50 years. The complex nature of artisan entrepreneurship has made this industry increasingly important over the last decade as an increasing number of people and organizations are interested in issues related to fostering a sustainable world for future generations. The proposed antecedents of artisan entrepreneurship include environmental, social, organizational, and individual factors. Organizational factors, particularly the ability to innovate, have played a dominant and widely explored role in the development of artisan entrepreneurship in the last fifty years. In addition to antecedents, there are consequences resulting from environmental dynamism, consisting of social, organizational, and individual consequences.

On each level, many factors can be explored or tested with theory. In terms of the consequences of artisan entrepreneurship, this review focused mostly on an organizational level. Future studies may explore new theories or refine existing theories on the individual consequences of artisan entrepreneurship. The proposed framework serves as a guide for scholars to conduct future researchers and assist business owners and managers in identifying factors needed by stakeholders who wish to ensure individual well-being.

The study also identified future research possibilities to develop, strengthen, and expand on literature in this domain. A small number of studies have used a theoretical lens to understand the phenomenon of artisan entrepreneurship. In general, researchers have used descriptive qualitative research methods in a limited number of developing countries. Although there are a number of studies and findings related to artisan entrepreneurship, it is still a new research field and requires further investigation.

This study’s recommendations are for future research concern theory, methodology, and research settings, as well as a developed framework. Due to the limited theoretical lens used in the study of artisan entrepreneurship, future studies should examine existing theories (such as Social Cognitive Theory, Stakeholder Theory, or Dynamic Competitive Theory). Developing a new theory based on artisan entrepreneurship may be challenging for future research. In terms of methods, this review found that exploratory studies have become a dominant method. Enriching the generalizability of the study of artisan entrepreneurship by using quantitative methods is a method achieved by expanding the respondents not only to business owners and managers, but also to artisans through a multi-level analysis. The use of the mixed-methods approach will also strengthen the findings of the Artisan Entrepreneurship Theory.

Theoretical implications

The complex nature of artisan entrepreneurship has made this industry increasingly important in the last decade as an increasing number of people and organizations are interested in issues related to fostering a sustainable world for future generations. These organizations are more dynamic than large organizations that are able to respond to the environment and change members’ values and beliefs to suit the environment (Bashokuh-E-Ajirlo et al., 2021). Artisan entrepreneurship must keep up with these dynamics by reconfiguring structures and processes by facilitating innovation and adapting to a rapidly moving business environment with organizational innovation capabilities because competitive advantage requires more than just ownership of assets (knowledge) that are difficult to imitate. This finding is in line with the concept of Dynamic Capability (DC) derived from Resource-Based View (RBV) to explain how organizations may deploy internal resources and capabilities to gain competitive advantage in a dynamic business environment.

This review contributes to theory offering a specific framework for development by identifying the antecedents and consequences of artisan entrepreneurship. Artisan entrepreneurship creates an artisan economy that gives rise to collective power to achieve desired outcomes, due to social influence and cognition. This finding supports the research of Bandura (1997). The importance of the growth and development of artisan entrepreneurship is inseparable from roles such as government, craftsmen, consumers, social communities and the availability of financial aspects (financiers) in line with stakeholder theory (Freeman, 1984).

Practical implications

This systematic review contributes to the understanding of research on artisan entrepreneurship to date and its impact on the development of artisan entrepreneurship. This review contributes to practice by offering a specific framework for development by identifying the antecedents and consequences of artisan entrepreneurship. For organizations, artisan entrepreneurship may be used to create managerial practices that focus on innovation. Because innovation is the most frequently discussed theme and antecedent in this literature review and today’s dynamic world, it may represent both a challenge and opportunity for organizations (Sukoco et al., 2019).

Organizations are required to continue to innovate and emphasize market orientation but not ignore cultural identity as an indicator of organizational performance. For individuals (artisans), through this practice, artisan entrepreneurship may evaluate and motivate other artisans to promote products. A number of artisan entrepreneurs in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, provide examples of craftsmen who have developed tourism and export markets for handmade textiles. Furthermore, artisans should learn to understand market needs so that they are able to create products that are needed (Popelka & Littrell, 1991), which, in turn, will positively affect the quality of life (Carter, 2011) of each artisan.

Policy implications

This research proposes a framework that may be used by the government as a policymaker in the national strategic plan, facilitating artisan entrepreneurship in developing local products using as model an optimized version of the existing “Bangga Buatan Indonesia” policy. Furthermore, the government must foster creativity in all aspects of welfare of the population (Gouvea et al., 2020) so that the state is able to develop a “One Village, one Product” policy, as has been done by Japan, which was initiated by the Governor of OITA Province, Morihiko Hiramatsu in 1979. The government can also grant legality or patent rights to artisan products to maintain adapted to regional uniqueness (local wisdom). Authenticity (distinctiveness/authenticity) is also an opportunity to be developed and to create a competitive advantage for artisan entrepreneurship, as suggested by Bhaduri and Stanforth (2017) and Cheah et al. (2016) because the authenticity of raw materials has a positive effect on the assessment of products made by Prada (famous brand) and Touche (Peruvian brand).

Limitations and future lines of investigation

This section presents follow-up research questions and future research directions based on the gaps in the findings to motivate scholars to conduct further research into artisan entrepreneurship (Table 8).

Table 8 The future lines of investigation

Theory—research direction

This study found that existing research on artisan entrepreneurship has not been particularly diverse, and there are still limitations in the use of theory. Only 13 articles have explicitly sought to expand on or develop a new theory. In the future, to recognize changes and developments in the study of artisan entrepreneurship, new theories should be at the core. This section offers a number of theoretical suggestions.

Firstly, artisan entrepreneurs have received increasing recognition, from the importance of the arts to economic development, as well as their role in society and regional development. There is also now a more significant emphasis on local and artisanal goods related to an area’s culture and tourism. Artisan entrepreneurship allows for the creation of a craftsman economy that revives cities and encourages the development of businesses that respect traditions within the community by incorporating a social mission in line with Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1997), in which people share belief in the collective power to achieve desired outcomes. This theory also explains that a person’s behaviour is, in part, shaped and controlled by one’s social networks (i.e. social systems) and cognitions (e.g., expectations and beliefs) (Bandura, 1997). These cognitions occur socially within organizational contexts, in which people work together to achieve the desired results and goals. Bandura (1997) argues that there is a reciprocal relationship between person, environment, and behaviour. Social Cognitive Theory is still rarely used in research into artisan entrepreneurship, which is in line with Crowley (2019), who argues that three main perspectives should be identified in the study of artisan entrepreneurship behaviour, one of which is the study of factors at the micro-level such as cognition as an antecedent to the behaviour of artisan entrepreneurship. Bird et al. (2012) state that entrepreneurial behaviour is shaped by cognition and affect. Therefore, future research should use this theory as a theoretical basis because its essence is that humans learn about models through observation and imitation, which are then used in their behaviour.

Secondly, the results of this review also show that the importance of the growth and development of artisan entrepreneurship cannot be separated from government, craftsmen, consumers, social communities, and availability of financial resources (investors), which is in line with Stakeholder Theory (Freeman, 1984). The main purpose of business based on this theory is creating for all stakeholders involved, both groups and individuals, who can influence or be influenced by business (Freeman, 1984).

The key element of stakeholder theory is humans as actors and their interactions in the process of value creation, alignment of values, norms, and ethics as a mechanism to develop within and among organizations (Freeman et al., 2020). Stakeholder Theory also covers normative cores to answer the following two questions asked by companies:

  • What is the purpose of the company?

  • To whom does management have an obligation?

To answer these two questions, it is important for future research to use stakeholder theory because business conception is more humanistic because it reflects awareness of the role, purpose, directions, and long-term impacts on society. Pret and Cogan (2018) argue that, in the craft community, a joint commitment to artisan entrepreneurship allows artisans to share knowledge and social-emotional support. The study of the behaviour of artisan entrepreneurship is also inseparable from the support of actors such as the government, trade associations, and special interest groups (Lounsbury & Glynn, 2001). Higher education institutions also have the responsibility to provide quality education in facilitating the innovation of knowledge for the development of entrepreneurship education (Wall and Maritz, 2021) and must reflect modern entrepreneurial educational methods and goals in specific cultural contexts and modify them to ensure the most reliable results (Fleck et al., 2020).

Thirdly, artisan entrepreneurship faces challenges, one of which is competition. The dynamics of competition will continue to play an important role in understanding the changing environment (Ketchen et al., 2004). Competitive action is a product of individuals’ perceptions, personalities, intentions, and motivations within organizations (Chen and Miller, 1994). Therefore, future research should adopt the Competitive Dynamics theory to understand how the dynamism and intensity of a business environment can lead to profit (Chen et al., 2010) in the context of artisan entrepreneurship.

Methodology—research direction

This review found 50 articles on artisan entrepreneurship used qualitative methods. This method is considered the most relevant because it is exploratory and seeks to explain “how” and “why” specific social phenomena occur, making it easier to understand social reality (Polkinghorne, 2005). However, a limitation of this method is that the findings cannot be generalized (Allen, 2019). Therefore, this section offers methodological recommendations for future research.

Firstly, subsequent research should adopt a quantitative approach. In a number of existing studies, researchers have tended to choose business owners or managers and ignored other workers on a technical level, such as artisans (craftsmen), who are key resources of artisan entrepreneurship (Marques et al., 2018). The results of this review suggest that research related to artisan entrepreneurship has been conducted in developing countries. Therefore, it is important to conduct research in developed countries and deepen the complexity of research by adding a selection of samples such as business owners, managers, and artisans. Further research should also use multi-level analyses to accommodate multiple levels of organizations such as individuals and organizations. Multi-level analysis researchers may compare responses from business owners on an organizational level and artisans on an individual level.

Secondly, of the 72 studies reviewed, only five employed the mixed-methods approach. Future research may adopt this approach because of the limited number of studies using it, using qualitative methods to build initial theory and then quantitative methods to test and expand on theory (Shah and Corley, 2006). Many studies on artisan entrepreneurship have used a qualitative approach to build a theoretical framework but have not proceeded with quantitative methods to test findings. Therefore, this paper suggests that future research studies use a mixed-methods approach, in which the researcher builds on the initial theory and conducts testing to strengthen findings.

Antecedents and consequences—research direction

Existing studies into the antecedents of artisan entrepreneurship have been divided into environmental, social, organizational, and individual factors. Although the number of factors is large, previous studies have been fragmented in terms of organizational factors. This fragmentation provides future research opportunities to integrate antecedents into empirical and conceptual research. For empirical research, this study suggests collecting data from internal and external stakeholders to explain stakeholder support (artisans, consumers, government, suppliers, and investors) in developing artisan entrepreneurship. Furthermore, it is important to view competitive dynamics (Chen & Miller, 2014) and understand stakeholders are part of the strength of the organization in determining the five dimensions of competitive dynamics, namely competitive objectives, ways of competing, list of actors, tools of action, and timing. These dimensions are useful in distinguishing the mode of competition, called relational competition (Chen & Miller, 2014), to remain both competitive and relational in the industrial ecosystem.

The consequences of artisan entrepreneurship are more focused on organizational consequences, which are largely concerned with maintaining and enhancing the performance of artisan entrepreneurship. Few studies have presented individual consequences. This focus is an opportunity for future research one of the consequences of individuals in the context of artisan entrepreneurship being individual well-being. Individual well-being is an individual consequence of organizational performance when artisan entrepreneurship maximizes performance (Loarne-Lemaire et al., 2020). Moreover, the welfare of members will affects decision-making to keep working (Carter & Sara, 2011). Maximum organizational performance will increase the quality of life of artisans and have a direct impact on their well-being.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets supporting the conclusions of this article are included within the article and its additional files.



Socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization


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Ministry of Education and Culture, Dissertation Research Grant 2021.


This research is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Dissertation Research Grant 2021.

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The first author contributed to data collection and analysis, whereas the second and the third authors contributed to developing, reviewing, and sharpening theoretical contributions.

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Correspondence to Badri Munir Sukoco.

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Hasanah, U., Sukoco, B.M., Supriharyanti, E. et al. Fifty years of artisan entrepreneurship: a systematic literature review. J Innov Entrep 12, 46 (2023).

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