Journal of Management Studies
Recalibrating Entrepreneurship Research: A Call to Decolonize and Embrace the Pluralism of Entrepreneurial Activity
Submission Deadline: 30 September 2023
Gerard George, Georgetown University, USA
Helen Haugh, University of Cambridge, UK
Pablo Muñoz, Durham University, UK
Robert Nason, McGill University, Canada
Friederike Welter, University of Siegen, Germany
Shameen Prashantham, CEIBS, China
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole
life believing that it is stupid.
OVERVIEW OF THE SPECIAL ISSUE
There is a major disconnect between theory and phenomenon in the study of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the study of diversity (Welter et al., 2017), yet the body of knowledge developed over the past decades has been built primarily by studying start-ups with elite characteristics such as high tech, high growth, venture capital investment, or IPO status. The reality is that most entrepreneurship is not so glitzy. The highest rates of new venture activity are in the global south (GEM, 2020) and even in the United States, most start-ups are relatively mundane (Aldrich & Ruef, 2018) and many entrepreneurs are small business owners that do not want to grow (Wiklund & Shepherd, 2003). At the same time, other forms of organizing are being infused with entrepreneurial activity including non-profits, social enterprises, and social movements. This special issue serves to address this important gap between theory and phenomenon – seeking to move towards recalibrating what we study and how we study it in entrepreneurship research. This effort is important because of its implications for broader management theory and because a theory-phenomenon disconnect exists in other domains of management research. Strategy and organizational behaviour over-examine the precious few large public corporations and human resources concentrates on professional white-collar jobs.
The recent-point counter point on Management Theory in Journal of Management Studies (JMS) started this conversation and laid a strong foundation for the further exploration of this topic (Bruton et al, 2022; Filatotchev et al, 2022; Muzio, 2022; Banerjee, 2022). We introduce this special issue to build on this momentum and serve as a model for how to unearth latent assumptions and redress problematic patterns not only in entrepreneurship, but across domains of management scholarship.
WHY RECALIBRATION IS NEEDED
Entrepreneurship suffers from the law of the hammer: once you have a hammer, however wellcrafted it might be, everything begins to look like a nail. Since the cumulative body of knowledge in entrepreneurship has been forged by hammering on such start-ups, all other entrepreneurship tends to be seen, treated, and judged as if it were meant to speed up, scale up, and generate wealth.
The myopia of phenomenological scope in the study of entrepreneurial activity has created a troubling epistemological problem. Entrepreneurial endeavours that fall outside of the prototypical high growth start-up are cast as inferior (Muñoz & Kimmitt, 2018) and some environments are pejoratively characterized as institutional voids (Bothello et al, 2019; Mair & Marti, 2009) or swamps (Olthaar et al., 2017). The result is a knowledge and theory base that is, by and large, Western, masculine, industrial, and paternalistic (Ahl & Marlow, 2012; Baker & Welter, 2017, Peredo & Chrisman, 2006). In other words, scholarship has thus far either neglected or been unwilling, to engage with and theorize the plurality and everydayness of entrepreneurial activity (Rehn et al., 2013).
Embedded assumptions in entrepreneurship theory are a major threat as management research begins to expand its scope to study entrepreneurial diversity (Aldrich & Ruef, 2018; Kimmitt et al., 2020; Sutter et al., 2019; Welter et al., 2017). This important work nevertheless risks transposing latent theoretical assumptions and prescriptions into new settings – a mismatch of theory at best, and a harmful intervention at worst. This is particularly true as entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship gains momentum (Doherty et al., 2014), and scholarship seeks innovative solutions to inequality, economic and social inclusion, poverty, and climate change.
We contend that, as current theories inadequately explain the plurality of entrepreneurial activity, thorough recalibration is needed to begin to (re)align the body of knowledge and ways of seeing and assessing entrepreneurship that better reflects its true diversity, thereby contributing to wider management studies as well.
STREAMS AND POTENTIAL RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Embracing decolonization: A first recalibration task is to uncover, perhaps undo, the dominance of Western theorizing (Barkema et al., 2016; Essers & Benschop, 2009; Verduijn & Essers, 2013). By decolonizing, we refer to an approach that recognizes and questions assumptions and practices which prioritize Western thought and action over alternative and equally viable approaches. We link to the growing decolonization movement across academia and management research specifically (Banerjee, 2022; Connell, 2014; Hamann et al., 2020) and solicit contributions that reveal, question and combat latent Western assumptions in entrepreneurship research. We aim to inspire and cultivate new theories, methods, and voices to advance more authentic understanding of entrepreneurial activity that goes beyond traditional Western settings (Hoskisson et al., 2011; Prashantham & Dhanaraj, 2010).
Embracing pluralism: A second recalibration task involves expanding the breadth of entrepreneurial study - casting fine nets to catch diverse realities. Embracing pluralism critiques narrowness and exceptionalism and fully considers the value, reality and contribution of entrepreneurial diversity (Hughes et al., 2012). We invite papers that explore how different forms of entrepreneurship coexist, e.g., minority, emancipatory, necessity, marginalized, and stigmatized entrepreneurship (Al-Dajani et al., 2015; Chowdhury, 2021; George et al., 2012; Verduijn et al., 2014). Studies that adopt the epistemology of the insider, and explicitly critique externally imposed frameworks, assumptions and labels, are also pertinent to our SI.
Embracing everydayness: A third recalibration task involves extending the depth of entrepreneurial study by examining the everydayness of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship takes many forms and happens in many places, but much of our research has been directed to investigating high-growth, technology-driven strategies. Embracing everydayness will bring in a real-world perspective to entrepreneurship (George et al., 2016), demonstrating the potential of ventures of all types, formal and informal (Williams & Nadin, 2012), to build better economies and societies (Markman et al., 2016; Peredo et al., 2017; Wickert et al., 2020).
Contributors to the Special Issue need to demonstrate how their research contributes to recalibrating entrepreneurship research and in so doing, make important contributions to management research more broadly. We are interested in both theoretical and empirical papers. We are especially keen to bring in new approaches to examine, new methods to analyse, and new voices to explain and make visible entrepreneurial plurality and diversity. We also are particularly interested in research from under-examined contexts, and in response to novel disruptions. Potential Research Questions include:
• How have entrepreneurship theories’ latent assumptions caused intended or unintended impacts in the lived experience of individuals, communities, societies, and the environment?
• How does entrepreneurial action function in the absence of fundamental Western assumptions such as private property rights, human agency, resource availability, or future orientation?
• What new methods and constructs are needed to examine and explicate the entrepreneurial reality of underexamined contexts? How can we better measure and evaluate the pluralism of entrepreneurship?
• What is and how we can make sense of value creation across contexts? How might new performance indicators be developed to capture and document entrepreneurial plurality, diversity, impacts, and outcomes?
• How does entrepreneurship research in new (to the field) contexts and populations advance new theory?
• Are there new perspectives on gender, race, tribes, and social castes on participation and implementation such as access to opportunities or the pathways to business creation?
• How does entrepreneurship enable human flourishing and the common good? What role does entrepreneurship, in its variety of forms, play in human development, across contexts? How might entrepreneurship and human development co-exist and flourish?
• How do new and emerging technologies affect entrepreneurial participation in marginalized communities or affect decolonization, pluralism, and everydayness?
• What are the unintended or potentially negative consequences of the many forms of entrepreneurship?
Submission deadline: 30 September 2023
Expected Publication: 2026
Submissions should be prepared using the JMS Manuscript Preparation Guidelines (http://www.socadms.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/JMS-ManuscriptPreparationGuidelines.pdf)
Manuscripts should be submitted using the JMS ScholarOne system (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jmstudies)
Articles will be reviewed according to the JMS double-blind review process.
We welcome informal enquiries relating to the Special Issue, proposed topics, and potential fit with the Special Issue objectives. Please direct any questions on the Special Issue to the guest editors.
• Gerard George is Tamsen and Michael Brown Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University (email@example.com).
• Helen Haugh is Associate Professor in Community Enterprise and Research Director, Centre for Social Innovation at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge (firstname.lastname@example.org).
• Pablo Muñoz is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School (email@example.com).
• Robert Nason is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in Strategy and Organization and the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University (firstname.lastname@example.org).
• Friederike Welter is Professor of Entrepreneurship & Small Business at University of Siegen, and Head of IfM Bonn (email@example.com).
SPECIAL ISSUE EVENTS
Information and Workshop Sessions:
Spring & Summer of 2023: Exact places, dates and times TBA
Two information and workshop sessions will be held about the special issue and to provide feedback on an emerging paper idea. We will hold one online in the Spring of 2023 and aim to coincide a second session in person in line with a summer conference. In each of these sessions, the first informational hour will be recorded and made available to interested authors who are unable to attend the session. Interested authors will also be invited to submit a 500-word extended abstract in order to participate in a workshop for the second hour. These workshops will feature breakout sessions with a facilitator to discuss proposed papers and the fit with the special issue as well as receive feedback from other authors. The digital format will ensure that attendance is possible for as many authors from around the world as possible. Attendance is not a precondition for submission and individuals may just attend the first half of the session if they wish. Only authors submitting an extended abstract may participate in the workshop portion.
Exact date, time, and place TBA
In the interest of providing opportunities to develop their contributions to the Special Issue, the guest editors of this Special Issue are planning to hold a conference and manuscript development workshop in 2024 (details will be provided at a later date). Authors who receive a “revise and resubmit” (R&R) decision on their manuscript will be invited to attend this workshop. Participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue and attendance is not a prerequisite for publication.
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