Entrepreneurship Research


    Our approach to entrepreneurship research


    In 2000, Shane and Venkataraman defined entrepreneurship as the individual-opportunity-nexus. Accordingly, entrepreneurship emerges when an enterprising individual commits to acting upon an entrepreneurial opportunity. This definition served as foundation for entrepreneurship to become a sovereign field of research. However, more and more researchers reflect it critically. Our research focuses on empirical and theoretical contributions to current streams of research within entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial innovation. Due to the entrepreneurial phenomenon’s complexity, we draw on a larger set of methodical approaches. In our projects, we furthermore make use of close collaborations with practitioners from start-ups and established organizations alike.

    Sieste – Engaging the entrepreneurship research community


    We regularly host “Sieste”, our inspirational entrepreneurship research break. Both Jean-Baptiste Say Institute senior researchers as well as external scholars present their papers and share their knowledge with our research community. Together, we engage in meaningful conversations and form a powerful network.

    Recent presentations include:

    Denise Fischer (RWTH Aachen)An Effectual Approach to Alliance Performance and the Moderating Role of Experience
    Martin Kupp & Davide Sola (ESCP Business School)Why Exploration and Exploitation Are Not Enough
    Matthew Grimes (University of Cambridge)How to Write Good Reviews
    Sylvain Bureau (ESCP Business School)How Subversive Jokes Create Legitimacy in Art and Entrepreneurship: The Cases of the Fountain and the FaceMash
    David Audretsch (Indiana University)Creating the Knowledge Spillover Theory
    Ute Stephan (King’s College London)New outcomes and new methods in entrepreneurship research: Understanding and Researching Entrepreneurial Well-Being and Recovery

    Are you interested in presenting at “Sieste”?

    Please reach out to Christoph Seckler and describe your topic idea:

    Christoph Seckler
    Assistant Professor & Academic Director U-SCHOOL

    Our key research topics


    Theoretical foundations of entrepreneurship

    For centuries, researchers considered risk and uncertainty as determinants of entrepreneurship. At the same time, it becomes apparent that scholars still do not fully understand the role of uncertainty within the entrepreneurial process. We therefore participate intensively in the discussion surrounding the theoretical foundations of entrepreneurship research.

    Entrepreneurship education

    Entrepreneurship scholars have discovered entrepreneurship education as a popular field of research. Still, little research has been done specifically in the area of action-based entrepreneurship education (such as art thinking). In different studies, we analyze creative practices and explore the dynamic relationship of emotion and (adult) learning. In doing so, we better understand their link to the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

    Entrepreneurial thinking and action

    Cognitive approaches gained increasing popularity within the entrepreneurship literature since the 1990’s. We analyse various kinds of thinking and action (such as art thinking, effectuation, bricolage, and improvisation). Additionally, we study their influencing factors and effects. In close connection, we cherish and develop what has been discussed as ecological rationality. Primarily, we study the competence to choose for each decision-making situation the adequate toolsets, methods and strategies.

    Family firm innovation

    Family firms innovate differently than non-family firms. The underlying reasons are still regarded as a “black box”. One current focus of our work is entrepreneurial cognition in family firm innovation. It highlights the role of individuals and teams for innovation in family firms.

    Social entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurial behaviour is not only applicable to economic issues, but instead addresses a much broader range of fields. Accordingly, our research comprises topics such as social, sustainability, and cultural entrepreneurship. Our social entrepreneurship research projects contribute to the understanding of the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship and explore a broad spectrum of topics from the mindset and cognition of social entrepreneurs to social business incubation models addressing refugee entrepreneurs.

    Learning from failure

    A topic that has attracted considerable attention in both theory and practice of entrepreneurship is: learning from failure. While learning from failure is widely considered a crucial learning mechanism for entrepreneurs, questions on who, when, why, what and how entrepreneurs learn from failure is of much debate. We contribute to these discussions by studying the learning from failure of individual entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial teams, as well as entrepreneurial organizations. We believe that properly understanding the phenomenon will help to eventually improve how entrepreneurs learn from failure, and thus promote successful entrepreneurship.

    Entrepreneurial ecosystems

    A much used metaphor in media, practice, and academia is the one of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. While the metaphor seems to resonate with a lot of people, some fundamental questions need to be answered. These questions include: what is actually an entrepreneurial ecosystem? How can we best study entrepreneurial ecosystems? How can we design entrepreneurial ecosystems to be successful? We aim to contribute to these discussions by providing a realist (re-)conceptualization of what constitutes an entrepreneurial ecosystem. We also empirically examine entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe, and theorize about their functioning. Based on these insights, we aim at developing ideas on how to design prosperous entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe.

    Entrepreneurship as design science

    Design science is a research approach that allows entrepreneurship scholars to combine rigorous research with relevant impact. Design science is rooted in the works of Herbert Simon and Mario Bunge. It aims at developing innovative solutions for real world problems. We conduct research on further developing the design science research paradigm for the entrepreneurship field as well as develop our own design science research projects.

    Doctoral research at our institute


    At the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute, we aim at supporting our PhD students with regular meetings that are attended by junior and senior researchers of our institute:

    • bi-weekly working paper development sessions
    • quarterly research meetups that include personal development workshops
    • regular presentations by senior as well as external researchers (“Sieste”)

    In this way, we take care to move above and beyond the idea of having one assigned supervisor throughout the PhD process. We supervise, grow, and learn jointly.

    If you are interesting in conducting your PhD with us, please check Jobs & Visiting Researchers for current openings.

    Publications of Jean-Baptiste Say Institute scholars

    November 21, 2023

    Driven by emotions: The moderating effect of socioemotional wealth dimensions on the link between entrepreneurial orientation and innovation performance in family firmsRead More

    October 25, 2023

    Revisiting the knowledge spillover paradox: the impact of infrastructureRead More

    October 24, 2023

    Forschung muss Teil der Lösung sein!Read More

    Authors: SECKLER, C Publications Outlet: DIE ZEIT
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