Academy of Management Perspectives— Assessing the Impact of University Innovation and Entrepreneuria

When:  Feb 15, 2023 from 09:00 to 23:59 (ET)
Associated with  Entrepreneurship (ENT)
Assessing the Impact of University Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Managerial and Policy Implications
Guest editors:
AMP Associate Editor:
  • Siri Terjesen, Associate Dean and Phil Smith Professor of Entrepreneurship, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University; Norwegian School of Economics,
Background and Purpose of the Special Issue
University innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems (henceforth, UIEEs) were initially conceived as independent (Autio et al., 2014). We now know that UIEEs are closely connected and growing quite rapidly (Feldman, Siegel, and Wright, 2019). Innovation ecosystems are focused on complex relationships of cooperation, communication, and feedback among organizations (governments, universities, industry) in the process of innovation and innovative performance across countries (Carlsson et al., 2002). Entrepreneurial ecosystems involve a set of individual, organizational, industry, and environmental factors, such as leadership, dynamic capabilities, culture, capital markets, networks, and customers that combine in complex ways (Mason and Brown, 2014). This interconnected set of actors and organizations determines local socio-economic development (Wurth, Stam, and Spigel, 2021).

UIEEs consist of a mix of educational programs, infrastructure (incubators, research parks, technology transfer offices, business development, and employment offices), regulatory factors (relating to business establishment and property rights), culture (role models, attitudes towards entrepreneurship) as well as relationships with government, investors, industry, and other socio-economic agents (Wright, Siegel, and Mustar, 2017). Strategically, the university ecosystem has supported the university community (students, alumni, academics, and staff) in the exploration and exploitation of innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives (Guerrero et al., 2017),while also providing a balanced teaching-learning and research support.

It is important to assess the impact of UIEEs on individuals, organizations, regions, and society.  Two key dimensións are scholarly and teaching impact (e.g., development of talent, research production, and transfer/commercialization of inventions), as well as the outcomes of engagement activities with external/internal stakeholders (Aguinis et al., 2014). In recent years, university researchers have also been urged to address grand societal challenges (Wickert et al., 2021), such as climate change/sustainability and public health, and to engage in more “responsible” research (Tsui, 2022).  Policymakers and accreditation bodies  (e.g., AACSB in the US; REF in the U.K.) are also interested in assessing UIEE activities and outcomes for accountability purposes, since there is substantial public investment in UIEEs. 

An analysis of how university leaders have managed the UIEE connection between teaching-learning and research to develop inventors and entrepreneurs to commercialize research is especially timely and important for three reasons. First, the university is a key driver of economic growth and social change (Klofsten et al., 2019). Second, external shakeouts (e.g., crises and recessions) transform socio-economic landscapes and pursuit of new organizational forms/governance (Guerrero et al., 2016) and demand sustainable returns from UIEE connections to society (Graddy-Reed et al., 2021).  To meet current challenges/opportunities, we require new theories, strategies, and policies to ensure effective governance and management in teaching-research entrepreneurship and innovation (Crow, Whitman, and Anderson, 2020; Siegel and Guerrero, 2020).  According to the literature, innovative and entrepreneurial universities are organizations that adopt an entrepreneurial management style, with members (faculty, students, and staff members) who act entrepreneurially and that interact with its outside environment (community/region) in an entrepreneurial manner (Audretsch, 2014). Traditional studies tend to take a narrow view of industry-university relations focusing only on the commercialization of research and on mechanisms of ‘technology transfer’ (Wright et al., 2007; Grimaldi et al., 2011) or analyzing entrepreneurship and innovation as if they were separate phenomenon (Autio et al., 2014).

The emerging role of a university is dichotomous, focusing on both innovation and entrepreneurship.  Universities may contribute to competitiveness and economic growth (Guerrero and Urbano, 2016) by designing/developing their entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems to generate societal, technological and economic value via research, teaching other forms  of human capital development, as well as the development of new companies and entrepreneurial capital (Guerrero et al., 2015). One criticism of the literature on UIEEs is that with rare exceptions, we lack clear analytical and conceptual frameworks (Borissenko and Boschma, 2016; Wright et al., 2017).

We also have limited information on (a) how universities have managed entrepreneurship and innovation teaching-learning programs (ensuring diversity and equality of opportunities for the university community enrolled in multiple fields) or outside campuses (ensuring that the teaching-learning programs are generating sustainable entrepreneurs, inventors or managers) (Crow, Whitman, and Anderson, 2020); (b) how UIEE teaching/research efforts (entrepreneurs/innovators) have positively/negatively impacted on building more entrepreneurial, innovative and sustainable societies (Martin et al., 2013); (c) how UIEE has effectively supported that other public/private organizations become more entrepreneurial and innovative (Audretsch, Siegel, and Terjesen, 2020); (d) how university schools have actively/transversality participated in the UIEE to be connected to external ecosystems’ agents (Wright, Siegel and Mustar, 2017); and (e) how UIEE have transformed its strategies/metrics due to public agendas (Audretsch et al., 2022) and how policymakers have transformed their strategies/metrics due to the UIEE outcomes (Markman et al., 2005; Waldman et al., 2021).

For this special issue, we also seek theoretical and empirical research on sustainable metrics of impacts produced by UIEE actors and institutions. We invite researchers from several social science disciplines and fields within management (e.g., education, strategy, economics, sociology, innovation, organizational behavior, human resource management, geography, and anthropology). Conceptual and qualitative (e.g., narratives, multiple cases, experiments) papers are welcome, but note that AMP is not a theory-testing journal. In line with the AMP’s scope, the special issue papers should make an important theoretical contribution, combined with an appropriate methodological design. Some research questions that authors might address include:
  • How do UIEE managers design/implement entrepreneurship and innovation educational programs?
  • How do UIEE managers enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability, while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • What are the optimal managerial and public policies to induce faculty and students to become engaged in UIEEs?
  • How can industry/government linkages within UIEEs most effectively be incorporated into the university curriculum, research agendas, and strategic engagements? 
  • How does university technology transfer affect the propensity of faculty members to teach, the quality of their instruction, and the curriculum? 
  • How does the rise of technology commercialization affect the culture of “open science,” knowledge exchange, and graduate student education?
  • What is the appropriate way to advance technology-based entrepreneurship education, research, and societal engagement? 
  • What is the nexus between science/technology-based programs (e.g., engineering) on the one hand, and business programs (e.g., entrepreneurship and general management) on the other?
  • What are the challenges in fostering the spanning between technology-based schools and business schools that may be required to develop technology management education?  How do UIEE components are effectively collaborating among them to support the university community? (e.g., entrepreneurship education programs offered by the business school are really connected with the university technology transfer needs and services)
  • How do UIEE components effectively develop teaching-research collaborations with the regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to support the university community and society? (e.g., the multiple offers of entrepreneurship education programs are training/coaching regional ecosystems’ managers, technicians, and entrepreneurs)
  • How should UIEE guarantee scholarly entrepreneurship and innovation impacts across the regional ecosystem actors? Which is the most appropriate definition/metric of UIEE scholarly sustainable impacts? How should UIEE influence the transformation/update of public agendas and impact metrics (and vice versa)? 
Deadline, Submission and Review Process
When you submit your manuscript online, please indicate in your cover letter that the paper should be considered for this special issue. Contributors should follow AMP manuscript submission guidelines. The submission deadline is 15 February 2023, and papers should be submitted on the AMP website at Do not submit your paper until 15 January 2023. 

All papers will be reviewed according to the standard policies of Academy of Management Perspectives. Authors whose papers make it through first-round review will be invited to participate in an AMP SI Workshop, which be hosted by the Global Center for Technology Transfer at Arizona State University in the late spring of 2023. Questions regarding the special issue can be addressed to the guest editors.  

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