10 Theme Areas

It is well-established that entrepreneurship plays an important role in job creation and therefore in economic growth and development of various geographic entities from villages to regions and even to entire countries. Thus, to advance the level of growth and development at all geographic levels, some scholars believe we need to encourage, motivate, and support entrepreneurial activities. What can be done through public policy formation at all geographic levels to promote entrepreneurial activity? What institutions have the greatest impact on entrepreneurship? Do certain policies increase entrepreneurial firms’ abilities to create jobs and create growth? Which types and forms of entrepreneurship have the greatest long-term effects on economic growth?

Change is constant, as it always has been, even though we think of it as ever faster. Change is an unavoidable companion of innovation and its scope and impact is often underestimated or unimagined by many, including the individuals and organizations originating innovations. Managers and organizations would like to better manage change, in a proactive manner, prompting these questions: How can or should change be actively managed by firms and other organizations experiencing innovations? How can innovations be monitored for their impacts, including those on organization structure, business models and other significant components of an organization? What are the primary issues in making an organization change-ready? What forms of change should be considered? What are the barriers to change and how can they be avoided or overcome?

Risk is inherent in entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurs are often spoken of as risk-takers. Uncertainty is without the frequency counts and probability distributions across possible outcomes that we associate with risk. Which is more important to entrepreneurship: uncertainty or risk? What conceptions of risk are useful in studying entrepreneurship? How do entrepreneurs perceive, assess and manage risk? Does uncertainty create opportunity? If so, does it create opportunities for everyone, or merely the imaginative and insightful? What is entrepreneurial risk? What is the relationship between risk and successful entrepreneurship? How does environmental uncertainty present entrepreneurial opportunities? What are the risks and benefits of being a first mover?

As the global environment moves ever faster, innovation and its partner, change, are requirements for survival and success. The role of innovation has been much studied and some place it at the heart of success, certainly as a precursor to change. Innovation comes in many forms, some of great singular significance, some of worth only in combination with others. How does innovation arise? Can we understand the process that creates it? How can we identify and learn from potentially valuable innovations that never make it? What resources are necessary to create innovation? How can firms enhance the probability that innovations create value and advantage? Why are some firms more innovative than others? Does innovation as an event or process differ in young, small organizations as opposed to large, established organizations? Do incremental innovations fuse and accumulate to major innovations? What triggers the fusion and accumulation and what does this process look like?

Opportunities arise from Imagination and Insight and lead to creative, valuable Inventions and Innovations. What creates opportunities? Do these four “I”s imply a process involving creativity? While we know much about individual creativity, how does it contribute to the innovation process? To what extent is creativity an inherited characteristic, and what can we learn from the behavioral sciences about it? Is imagination a group process? What is organizational creativity? How are opportunities identified? What is required to exploit opportunities?

Strategy and entrepreneurship are independent constructs. Yet, their integration helps to create value for customers and to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. Exploiting an entrepreneurial opportunity is often necessary to sustain a competitive advantage. The integration of ideas in strategy and entrepreneurship is at the heart of the SEJ’s purpose and prompts these questions: What is strategic entrepreneurship? How is strategy integrated with entrepreneurship to create value? What are the independent and joint value adding properties of the two constructs? Do institutional forces and cultures affect strategies and entrepreneurial actions in similar ways?

Technological advances are the base for most innovation and in turn become a primary driver of change. As importantly, the creation, development and use of new technologies are sources of competitive advantage. Therefore, the development and diffusion of technological knowledge is critical to a firm’s ability to create and maintain value. What is the role of technology in strategic entrepreneurship? How does the development and introduction of new technology contribute to competitive dynamics? In what ways can new technology contribute to success and failure?

Public organizations can also be entrepreneurial, which may contribute to the ability of such organizations to better serve their constituencies. In recent years a new concept has evolved—that of social entrepreneurship. While there are some varying definitions, social entrepreneurship is usually regarded as entrepreneurial efforts to produce goods serving a public and collective need. How does entrepreneurship contribute to enhanced performance of public organizations? Does public organization entrepreneurship differ from that in the private sector? How can social entrepreneurship best be practiced?

There has been substantial research on the characteristics of entrepreneurs but much less on entrepreneurship as a process within organizations. What can be learned of such entrepreneurship processes that have widespread application? What have we learned of human behavior that has application to entrepreneurship as a process and as something to be applied by professional management? What are the theoretical underpinnings of entrepreneurship within an established organization? What are the cognitive properties of entrepreneurial behavior, and entrepreneurs as individuals? Are there specific behaviors that can be labeled as entrepreneurial? Do organizational cultures contribute to an entrepreneurial orientation? Do the behavioral attributes of entrepreneurship vary across cultures?

For organizations to create and then retain value for an organization requires barriers to the diffusion of the technology and its applications. The protection of intellectual property rights where technological change and innovation occur is central to the management of an organization in competition with others. Patents and copyrights are used to protect intellectual property rights but are not universally enforceable. In particular, nations differ in their regimes for protecting intellectual property. What represents good public policy regarding the protection of intellectual property rights, including the motivational aspects that prompt invention and innovation? How should the value of innovation be allocated among inventor, developer, user and consumer? What are the roles and values of patents and copyrights? How valuable are patents to new entrepreneurial firms where products are imitated by large, established competitors?