SEJ Special Issues

Special Issues are an important part of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ). Special Issues primarily focus on a single topic of relevance to the entrepreneurship field and have the potential of opening new ground for further research.

Email the SEJ Editorial Office at to inquire about submitting a Special Issue proposal.

All Special Issue manuscripts considered for submission must be sent to SEJ's online submission site. For information as to the form of submission, including style and other submission guidelines, please click here.

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Current Special Issues

Re-thinking Academic Entrepreneurship: Micro, Macro, and Meso Perspectives

Submission deadline: August 9, 2024

2020 was the 40th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole and Stevenson-Wydler Acts in the U.S., which induced universities and federal/national labs to become more engaged in the commercialization of science. These legislative acts also led to the establishment of technology transfer offices at universities and federal/national labs (Link, Siegel, and Van Fleet, 2011) and a concomitant rise in patenting, licensing, and startup creation by scientists worldwide. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act has also influenced global policies regarding university technology transfer, as well as inspired legislative reforms in both developed countries (e.g., China, Japan, South Korea, U.K., Europe) and developing countries (e.g., Brazil, Colombia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, and South Africa-see Siegel and Wright, 2007).

Scientists who engage in such activities are now referred to as “academic entrepreneurs” and entrepreneurial programs and initiatives have grown exponentially on campus and in surrounding regions of the university or federal/national lab. At the same time, more attention has recently been paid to students and alumni who set up their own ventures, referred to as student and alumni entrepreneurship, and which belong to the broader umbrella term of “academic entrepreneurship”.

To support legislation, there has been substantial public investment in programs to support academic entrepreneurship (e.g., the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) in the U.S., various state level technology innovation public investment programs, and diverse national and regional support programs in the E.U., Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan), student-entrepreneurship, and property-based institutions, such as incubators/accelerators and science/technology parks on campus and surrounding regions, as well as state-level programs to attract “star scientists” who actively engage in academic entrepreneurship (e.g., the Georgia Research Alliance

A key policy issue relating to academic entrepreneurship is ownership of intellectual property arising from government-funded research at universities and federal/national labs, such as patents (the Bayh-Dole approach in the U.S.), and whether universities own such patents (the Bayh-Dole approach) or inventors own them (the “Professor’s Privilege” in Sweden -see Hvide and Jones, 2018 or in Germany - see Cunningham et al., 2019). Also, policymakers, intergovernmental actors, academics, and practitioners view academic entrepreneurs as key agents in addressing “grand societal challenges,” such as climate change and sustainability, improving physical and human infrastructure, reducing poverty and inequality, and health care (e.g., George et al., 2016; De Silva et al., 2021).

It is also important to note that innovation and entrepreneurship occur within an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some key agents, institutions, and initiatives defining entrepreneurial ecosystems on campus (and in surrounding regions of the campus) include faculty, post-docs, students, alumni, technology transfer offices, science and technology parks, incubators/ accelerators, venture capitalists and angel investors, alumni commercialization funds, and numerous entrepreneurship programs and centers on campus. These systems have expanded greatly over the past forty years. Thus, the rise of academic entrepreneurship has both important managerial and public policy implications at multiple levels of analysis.

In the full Call for Papers, are four sets of research questions regarding the managerial and public policy implications of academic entrepreneurship that could be explored in the special issue. These questions are informed by Markman et al. (2008), who identified three key aspects of the commercialization of science: individual, organizational, and institutional/societal dimensions.

Framing Novelty: A Linguistic Approach To The Understanding Of Entrepreneurship, Creativity, And Innovation

Submission deadline: January 31, 2025 

Innovators’ struggle for recognition is a central theme in the literature on entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. One way by which innovators can overcome the liability of newness of their nascent projects is through the use of rhetorical devices (e.g., Aldrich & Fiol, 1994; Czarniawska, 1998). A growing body of scholarship now adopts a framing approach (Goffman, 1974) to study entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, where framing refers to “the use of rhetorical devices in communication to mobilize support and minimize resistance to a change” (Cornelissen & Werner, 2014: 185). Framing matters for entrepreneurs (Snihur et al., 2022), corporate entrepreneurs (Putra, Pandza, & Khanagha, 2023), and innovators more broadly (Hargadon & Douglas, 2001) to construct meaning around novel endeavors and win over skeptical audiences. Several studies in entrepreneurship, for instance, underscore the importance of framing choices in contextualizing innovation efforts (Garud et al., 2014), shaping the perceived risk of novel entrepreneurial ideas, or motivating capital commitment by relevant stakeholders (Martens et al., 2007). Likewise, organizational scholars have suggested that the frames individuals use, as well as the terms and categories they borrow from dominant discourses are critical to gain access to audiences’ symbolic and/or material resources (Lounsbury & Glynn, 2001; Zott & Huy, 2007; Navis & Glynn, 2011; Granqvist et al., 2013).  

More recently, some scholars have started to establish a link between the enabling role of language in framing innovation and audience-based evaluative mechanisms (Falchetti et al., 2022). For instance, one important pillar of this link lies in language expectancy theory, which holds that individuals develop normative expectations concerning appropriate communication styles in given situations, and argues that such expectations affect individuals’ attitudes toward message effectiveness (e.g., Burgoon et al., 2002). When those expectations are matched, the persuasiveness of the message increases. Expected patterns of language use have been shown by cognitive studies to exist and operate along multiple communication features including language intensity, complexity, and emotional tone (Averbeck & Miller, 2014; Craig & Blankenship, 2011). Along these lines, past research has linked the frequency with which we use certain word categories with how we are perceived by others, thereby resulting in tangible performance outcomes such as job performance or attainment (Berry et al., 1997). Entrepreneurship scholarship has shown audiences to be sensitive to the entrepreneurial orientation of the rhetoric used in the shareholders’ letters (Wang et al., 2021), or the linguistic styles adopted by entrepreneurs to communicate their ideas on crowdfunding platforms (Parhankangas & Renko, 2017; Gafni et al., 2019) and digital marketplaces (Cutolo et al., 2020), while related strategy scholarship has demonstrated that subtle changes in the linguistic framing of idea pitches may decisively affect key audiences’ disposition to support those ideas (Huang et al., 2021; Falchetti et al., 2022; Contigiani and Young-Hyman, 2022).  

Past Special Issues Awaiting Publication

Leading the Digital Transformation of Incumbent Firms

Anticipated Publication: March 2024

Strategic entrepreneurship provides an encompassing lens for investigating how firms can respond to the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation. Recently, strategic entrepreneurship scholars have made great progress exploring the opportunities for new business models from digital technologies (Rietveld, 2018); the creation of value through novel resource combinations (Amit and Han, 2017); the role of capabilities in response to digital disruption (Roy, Lampert, and Stoyneva, 2018); the nature and role of entrepreneurship in digital platforms (Srinivasan and Venkatraman, 2018); and the ecosystems in which digital opportunities and capabilities are created and exploited (Autio et al., 2018; Eckhardt, Ciuchta, and Carpenter, 2018; Nambisan, Siegel, and Kenney, 2018). As a unifying theoretical perspective (Simsek, Heavey, and Fox, 2017), strategic entrepreneurship addresses questions central to advancing research on the role of strategic leaders in digital transformation. Thus, the purpose of this special issue is to build on existing conversations and create new conversations about the role of strategic leaders in whether, how, when, and to what ends incumbent firms engage in digital transformation.

Entrepreneurial Decisions in the Digital Age

Anticipated Publication: December 2025

The present digital age is characterized by the rapid shift from a traditional economy established by the Industrial Revolution to an economy based on digital technologies (Giustiziero et al. 2021). Many economic activities now take place digitally and a vast amount of information and data are made widely available by digital technologies (Karhade and Dong 2021a). Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations increasingly employ new organizations, organizational designs and business models based on new digital technologies such as AI and digital platforms (Kretschmer and Khashabi, 2020; Oehmichen et al. 2022). The new organizing principles they engender (e.g., data-driven decision making and meta-organizational forms) (Cennamo et al. 2020; Kretschmer et al. 2022) can likewise empower entrepreneurial activities and decisions originating from entrepreneurs’ subjective judgment (Foss and Klein, 2012).

Interestingly, digital technologies may become tools that reduce information asymmetries and consequently moral hazard between stakeholders and entrepreneurs (Chakravarty et al. 2021), unlocking innovation potential (Karhade and Dong 2021b). However, digital technologies can also constrain innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives towards specific paths. For instance, digital platforms leverage their extensive API tools, interfaces, add-ons and governance rules to shape the innovation effort and activities of their ecosystem participants towards directions that are aligned with the platform firm’s strategic objectives (Cennamo 2021; Jacobides et al. 2018), constraining what these actors can do. There is a need to extend our understanding about how new technological resources (e.g., AI and digital platforms) adopted within the organization and/or leveraged through other organizations affect the quality and scope of entrepreneurial decisions.

Strategic Entrepreneurship in Craft-Based Ventures

Anticipated Publication: September 2024

Compared to the impressive contributions of craft-based ventures to society, our knowledge of SE in craft-based ventures is very limited. As such, the purpose of this special issue is to extend our understanding of how craft-based ventures conduct SE. That is, how, if at all, they combine “both effectiveness and efficiency-oriented forms of newness” to explore tomorrow’s opportunities while exploiting today’s competitive advantages (Ireland & Webb, 2007: 52). And indeed, there are a number of unexplored or underexplored areas of research at the intersection of SE and craft-based economy that can illuminate our understanding of entrepreneurship and strategic management in craft-based ventures (Shepherd, Wennberg, Suddaby & Wiklund, 2019). For example, with the rapid advance of internet technologies and platform economies, craft-based ventures that had to traditionally rely exclusively on local consumers received sudden access to world markets. This has led to the increasing internationalization of craft-based ventures which now face unique opportunities and challenges as a result (e.g., Sasaki, Nummela, & Ravasi, 2021). These advances appeared to have played an important role in the survival of particular craft skills and associated ventures that had been on the brink of extinction. Another example is our lack of knowledge of the interplay between family dynamics and craft philosophy in craft-based ventures, which appears relevant as many craft-based products and services result from the lasting and dedicated work of generations of families that traditionally have substantially contributed to local economies (Hoskisson, Chirico, Zyung & Gambeta, 2017). Yet, apart from a few recent exceptions (e.g., Erdogan, Rondi, & De Massis, 2020; Sasaki, Ravasi, & Micelotta, 2019; Thurnell-Read, 2021; Ruef, 2020), there has been little cross-fertilization between craft-based research and the family firm literature (cf. Suddaby & Jaskiewicz, 2020). Other underexplored areas include, among others, the interplay between craft and tradition in the construction of authenticity, the interplay between craft and innovation in the context of the rise of artificial intelligence (cf. Murray, Rhymer, Sirmon, forthcoming), craft-approaches to engaging with various stakeholders (cf. Hitt et al., 2011; Murray, Kotha, & Fisher, forthcoming), the more general evolution of craft-based ventures, as well as the role of craft forms of strategic entrepreneurship in the informal/illegal economy.

Business Model Innovation Design: Deploying Strategic Entrepreneurship to Address Grand Challenges

Anticipated Publication: March 2025

To address grand challenges, strategic entrepreneurship initiatives such as business model innovation at the base of the pyramid or new social ventures with innovative business model designs may be deployed. Well-designed governmental policies complement and promote such purposeful entrepreneurship and innovation; however, they do not substitute for them. Given the relevance and timeliness of the topic, and the lack of research at the intersection of business model design, innovation, strategic entrepreneurship, governmental policies and grand challenges, we are launching a Special Issue entitled Business Model Innovation Design: Deploying Strategic Entrepreneurship to Address Grand Challenges.

Uncertainty and Competing Goals: Advancing Behavioral Theories of Entrepreneurial Processes and OutcomesBusiness Model Innovation Design: Deploying Strategic Entrepreneurship to Address Grand Challenges

Anticipated Publication: June 2025

The aim of this Special issue is to encourage scholars to advance new theoretical and empirical insights about entrepreneurial decision-making processes and outcomes in complex environments under conditions of uncertainty and competing goals. Accordingly, a wide repertoire of behavioral theories should be considered to further develop and enrich current understanding of entrepreneurial processes and outcomes. For instance, the mixed gamble concept has recently emerged as a powerful lens to explicate complex decisions in contexts that are hard to make sense of and decide upon (e.g., Bromiley, 2009, 2010; Gómez-Mejía et al., 2014; Hoskisson et al., 2017; Nalick et al., 2020). Also, the concept of Knightian uncertainty has been used to address situations in which neither outcomes nor their probabilities can be estimated ex ante (Arikan et al., 2020; Alvarez and Barney, 2007; Knight, 1921). Real options theory is another theoretical tool for helping managers and entrepreneurs deal with decision-making under uncertainty to enhance strategic flexibility (McGrath, 1997; McGrath & MacMillan, 2000; Bowman & Moskowitz, 2001). There has also been research dealing with how biases might distort the rationality of the real options decision approach (Coff & Laverty, 2001; Miller & Shapira, 2003; Adner & Levanthal, 2004). Additionally, scholars rooted in the tradition of the behavioral theory of the firms have started to examine how interrelated and conflicting goals are prioritized and resolved (Gaba & Greve, 2019). Unfortunately, however, these concepts and related models of uncertainty and competing goals have not received adequate attention in the entrepreneurship literature. Moreover, we encourage scholars to use cognitive mental models, such as the “small world representation” (SWR)’ concept that is gaining traction in the behavioral strategy and entrepreneurship literatures (e.g., Feduzi et al, 2021: Csaszar & Levinthal, 2016; Packard et al., 2017).

Published Past Special Issues


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