Entrepreneurialism, Inequality, and Society: Organizational and Policy Implications
Submission deadline: September 1, 2023
Editors-in-Chief: William Schulze (University of Utah), Robert Eberhart (UCLA)
Guest Editors: Garry Bruton (TCU), Jeannette A. Colyvas (Northwestern University), Timothy B. Folta (University of Connecticut), Jennifer E. Jennings, P. Devereaux Jennings, and Michael Lounsbury (University of Alberta), Jeffrey G. York (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Entrepreneurship is now widely viewed as a font of not only economic growth but also social development (Aldrich & Yang, 2012; Markman, Russo, Lumpkin, Jennings, & Mair, 2016; Seelos & Mair, 2005; Thiel & Masters, 2014; Zhang & Li, 2010). The term has expanded into our vernacular, with managers exhorting their subordinates to "become more entrepreneurial" and scholars/policy-makers encouraged to focus on "social entrepreneurship" as a means of solving some of society's most intractable problems (Aldrich, 2011; Bruton et al., 2021). This emergent perspective of entrepreneurs as social benefactors represents a sea-change in contrast to the organizational dynamics, research facilities, and government-led research formerly credited for a world where innovation was at the forefront (Chandler, 1984; Chandler, Hikino, & von Nordenflycht, 2001; Gisler & Sornette, 2009; Oliver & Cole, 2019) Today, entrepreneurs are lauded as the heroic agents of beneficial change (Meyer & Bromley, 2013; Dacin, Dacin, & Tracey, 2011). A key implication is that the phenomenon of entrepreneurship influences social realms far beyond national and organizational institutions, shaping our understanding of what "ought to be" when approaching grand challenges and managing modern organizations. This shift constitutes one of the fundamental trends motivating this Special Issue.
A second motivating trend is the manifest and subtle way in which the pursuit and endorsement of "entrepreneurialism" are linked with increased inequalities in modern society. In recent years, work in economics, sociology, and political science has shown how the engine of growth has slowed and the amount of associated inequality has sped up (Piketty, 2014). Overlaying and replacing the earlier system of managerialism, entrepreneurialism explains and justifies the uneven distribution of rewards in the name of risk-taking performance; indeed, so much so that there is now increased acceptance that those who "have not" have only themselves to blame for their fate (Eberhart, Lounsbury, & Aldrich, 2022). At the same time, entrepreneurialism is reordering the social stratification of society (Putnam & Garrett, 2021). Scholars note that successful firms in this new entrepreneurialism system become near monopolies, which, in concert with incumbent organizations, feed off the entrepreneurial juggernaut to dump capital into financial markets, transforming our perceptions and expectations of established firms and virtual monopolies in the process (Davis, 2010, 2022; Kenney & Zysman, 2019). Those firms that do not succeed become detritus for a new round innovation (Hoetker & Agarwal, 2007; Kroezen & Heugens, 2019). However, like the odds of lightening striking twice in the same spot, that new round may never occur, forcing the burdens of relocations, recapitalization, and retraining on the individuals left "holding the bag" (Nyberg & Wright, 2016). This Special Issue hopes to gain a more transparent understanding of the mechanisms, emerging norms, and new social beliefs of this wider system as the successful disperse their earnings in ways that increasingly decouple the flow of capital into uses discordant to the public interest.
These two fundamental trends are further entwined and torqued by a third: societal disruptions triggered by the increase in geopolitical divisions and continuing waves of the Covid pandemic. These divisions and waves seem to stop and start the engine of entrepreneurialism and create greater fluctuations in the levels and varieties of inequality. Societal disruptions are altering the life experiences of individuals-from the manner and mode of international travel to choosing whether to send one's children to school versus keeping them home while working from home oneself. They have also invited social commentators to question the economic, social, and political arrangements that were previously thought to have enriched the developing world for the last three decades (Adler, 2019; Fukuyama, 2022; Zuboff, 2019). In our view, the emergent social disruptions also provide scholars with a form of natural experiment-albeit an unfortunately dramatic one-for assessing the relationship between entrepreneurship/entrepreneurialism and the social world in terms of workplace ideology, business models, and entwined practice (to name just a few).
In keeping with the current effort at reassessment, our call in this Special Issue is for studies of the phenomenon of entrepreneurialism as it shapes society, including critical evaluation of policy efforts to promote entrepreneurship, particularly with respect to inequality. Such a call opens up the opportunity to draw upon theoretical perspectives from an array of managerial studies in organization theory, economic sociology, and strategy-as well as in related areas of political science, business history, and social psychology. Notable recent work in this stream includes studies from an institutional perspective investigating how national policies recursively shape the development and norms of entrepreneurialism (Vogel, 2022; Bromley Meyer, & Jia, 2022; Coles Sine Hiatt, 2022), an analysis of how inequality became accepted as a norm in new work relationships (Eberhart, Barley, & Nelson, 2022), and, a comprehensive research agenda concerning the discourse of entrepreneurialism (Caliskan & Lounsbury, 2022). Other recent noteworthy studies have examined how entrepreneurialism has reshaped the norms of organizational misconduct (Palmer & Weiss, 2022), how diversity in social structures matters for entrepreneurship (Ozkazanc-Pan, 2022), and varieties of entrepreneurial motivations (Hartmann, Spicer, & Krabbe, 2022; Rindova, Srinivas, & Martins, 2022).
ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Our Special Issue calls for extension of the above-note studies, seeking papers that advance theory and contribute to policy with respect to entrepreneurialism, inequality, and society. Illustrative (and non-exhaustive) questions that contributors to the Special Issue might wish to address are as follows:
- What are the valorized models of entrepreneurship (including those that ostensibly try to modify such activity) and how do they reinforce the underlying ideology of entrepreneurialism?
- How do underlying norms and cognitions embedded in a practice (such as entrepreneurship) engage with, or become detached from, that practice to become an ideology or logic of organizational and individual action?
- What do the elites in entrepreneurialism look like and how has the stratification system around them been modified?
- How do economic owners and political functionaries measure entrepreneurial effectiveness, and with what consequences for policy modifications?
- What does it mean in this new system to secure a "social license" to operate or pursue "public good" in light of entrepreneurialism's ascendance?
- How are human rights impacted by the move to entrepreneurialism, the use of neo-liberal supporting ideology, and exacerbated inequality?
- In what ways does the political system support the new models of economic advancement and its associated inequalities, and are there policies that can dampen these effects?
- How do entrepreneurial ideologies and policy shape the actions of executives and everyday citizens as they seek solutions for social problems?
We also invite researchers to offer perspectives that are critical of the concerns raised in this call, thereby enriching and sharpening discourse about these the importance of entrepreneurialism in society today.
- Scholars are reminded that AMP seeks papers that advance theory and contribute to policy (broadly defined).
- We welcome conceptual and qualitative (e.g., narratives, multiple cases) papers, but note that AMP is neither a theory-testing nor a mathematical modeling journal.
SPECIAL ISSUE EVENT
Post-submission: The editors will organize a hybrid Special Issue Paper Development Workshop (PDW) on 25 January 2024 at Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Authors who receive a "revise and resubmit" decision on their submitted manuscript will be invited to attend this post-submission workshop. Participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue and attendance is not a prerequisite for publication.
Authors should follow the AMP Manuscript Preparation Guidelines:
Articles will be reviewed according to the AMP double-blind review process
Paper Development Workshop at UCLA: 25 January 2024
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