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Radical Entrepreneurship Scholarship

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Guest Editors

Dr Lucrezia Casulli: [email protected]
Dr Dominic Chalmers: [email protected]
Prof. Sarah Drakopoulou Dodd: [email protected]
Russell Matthews: [email protected]
Dr Stoyan Stoyanov: [email protected]

Emerging from diverse theoretical roots, the study of entrepreneurship has matured into a distinctive scholarly field in its own right. The development of entrepreneurship-specific core concepts and the application of more rigorous methodological approaches have helped drive this maturation, advancing the field towards established foundations. However, the journey towards legitimacy has raised its own challenges, and many scholars have highlighted potential drawbacks associated with converging the field too closely around what has come to be characterised as ‘mainstream’ entrepreneurship research. Most notably, concerns have addressed the manner in which research is conducted, particularly with reference to how the traditions of ‘normal science’ have dominated methodological approaches (Aldrich and Baker, 1997; MacDonald et al, 2015). More generally, discussions have pointed to the entrenchment of research inquiries within accepted frames of reference, and the possible reification of entrepreneurial practices, as factors that potentially narrow the scope for knowledge development (Down, 2013; Fayolle et al, forthcoming). Given that entrepreneurship is both a multidisciplinary research field and a highly varied empirical phenomenon, it is arguably implicit that the advancement of the discipline is dependent on an ongoing dialogue between the current mainstream and those works that are explored through a diversity of theoretical lenses and research approaches.

Undoubtedly, the field has saw significant advances in methodological plurality and theoretical experimentation in recent years, particularly through work undertaken within the so-called ‘European tradition’ (Down, 2013). This has, at times, served as an important and thought-provoking counterbalance to the accepted canons within entrepreneurship scholarship. We believe that this is a lead worth following. In many ways, scholars have only scratched the surface of the range of lenses and approaches that might be turned on entrepreneurial phenomena. To reflect this opportunity, this special issue calls for radically novel approaches to research in entrepreneurship. The call aims to gather submissions that test, and broaden, the ontological, epistemological, methodological, and theoretical horizons of entrepreneurship, with a view to not only challenging the normative assumptions of ‘mainstream’ research, but also extending the boundaries of work undertaken in the ‘European’ and other related traditions. We use the term radical according to its two primary definitional senses. First, we refer to research that goes to the root or origin of entrepreneurship, questioning the very basis upon which conceptualisations are built. Second, we refer to research that embodies significant divergence from traditional lenses and approaches. Our hope is that the special issue provides a welcoming space for the submission of work contributors consider to be valuable, but potentially high-risk. We offer the following guidance for submissions:

• Research that explores entrepreneurial phenomena from alterative conceptual roots

While entrepreneurship research tends to be rooted in economic and psychological approaches, we encourage contributors to build on authors who have examined sociological (Swedberg, 2000; Watson, 2012), anthropological (Stewart, 2003; 1991), historical (Harvey et al., 2011) and practice-based approaches (Johannisson, 2011; Steyaert, 2007).

• Research that challenges established discourses surrounding the entrepreneur and entrepreneurial contexts

We invite manuscripts that diverge from portrayals of the entrepreneur as the innovative, ambitious, growth-driving hero of the modern Western capitalist economy (Drakopoulou Dodd and Anderson, 2007). Instead, we encourage focus on marginalised entrepreneurial agents and contexts. Examples of this include everyday, mundane, or necessity entrepreneurship (Rehn and Taalas, 2004). They may also include examinations of entrepreneurship occurring within depleted or highly resource constrained economies (Johnstone and Lionais), marginalised communities, or contexts on the fringes of legal or institutional boundaries. Finally, we encourage submissions that question the ontological status of the entrepreneur or that otherwise prioritise entrepreneurial actions (Steyaert, 2007; Watson, 2013).

• Research that utilises innovative methodological tools and approaches to explore entrepreneurial phenomena

We encourage contributions that experiment with methods and data that are atypical within entrepreneurship research publications. Recent examples include studies that have moved beyond post-hoc retrospective interview data to experiment with real-time diary studies (for example, Miller and Sardais, 2013). Similarly, we are interested in building on diverse approaches from the fields of sociology and linguistics that ostensibly examine processes of entrepreneurship, yet may not perhaps be considered ‘entrepreneurship research’. Llewellyn and Burrow’s (2008) real-time ethnomethodological study of a Big Issue vendor typifies this, revealing new and interesting aspects of entrepreneurial interactions.

• Reflections on ‘radical’ research projects     

Finally, in the spirit of entrepreneurial scholarship, we would like to invite researchers to share both positive and negative experiences of working with radical, risky or otherwise experimental data, methods and research contexts.  Specifically, we encourage submissions that critically reflect on new methods or concepts that for some reason did not work.

The special issue does not intend to reinforce tribalism and isolation between ‘schools’ of thought, but, rather, extols open dialogue between ‘communities of difference’ (Gartner, 2013) as the primary means by which a scholarly field avoids stagnation. While the call may be for critical, and perhaps unorthodox, scholarship, submissions should also remain tethered prominent concepts and discussions, even if only to challenge and reframe them.


Aldrich, H.E. and Baker, T. (1997), “Blinded by the cites? Has there been progress in entrepreneurship research?” in Sexton, D.L. and Smilor, R.W. (Eds.), Entrepreneurship 2000, Upstart Publishing, Chicago.

Down, S. (2013) 'Special issue editorial: The distinctiveness of the European tradition in entrepreneurship research', Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 25(1-2): 1-4.

Drakopoulou Dodd, S. and A. Anderson (2007). ‘Mumpsimus and the mything of the individualistic entrepreneur.’ International Small Business Journal 25(4): 341-60.

Fayolle, A, Riot, P, Landström, H, Berglund and Gartner WB (Forthcoming). ‘Special Issue Call: The Institutionalization of Entrepreneurship: Questioning the status quo and Re-gaining hope for entrepreneurship research’. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development.

Gartner WB. (2013) Creating a community of difference in entrepreneurship scholarship. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 25: 5-15.

Harvey C, Maclean M, Gordon J, et al. (2011). ‘Andrew Carnegie and the foundations of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy’. Business History 53: 425-450.

Johannisson B. (2011) ‘Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring’. Small Business Economics 36: 135-150.

Johnstone, H and Lionais, D (2004) ‘Depleted communities and community business entrepreneurship: Revaluing space through place’. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 16(3): 217-233.

Llewellyn N and Burrow R. (2008) ‘Streetwise sales and the social order of city Streets’. The British journal of sociology 59: 561-583.

McDonald, S., Gan, B.C., Fraser, S., Oke, A. and Anderson, A.R. (2015) ‘Towards a Multiple Perspective View of Entrepreneurship’ International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research (forthcoming Special Issue on Embracing qualitative research philosophies and methods).

Miller D and Sardais C. (2013) ‘Bifurcating Time: How Entrepreneurs Reconcile the Paradoxical Demands of the Job’. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

Rehn, A., & Taalas, S. (2004). ‘Znakomstva I Svyazi’ (Acquaintances and connections)–Blat, the Soviet Union, and mundane entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 16(3), 235-250.

Stewart A. (1991) ‘A prospectus on the anthropology of entrepreneurship’. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 16: 71-91.

Stewart A. (2003) 'Help One Another, Use One Another: Toward an Anthropology of Family Business'. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 27: 383-396.

Steyaert C. (2007) ‘Entrepreneuring’ as a conceptual attractor? A review of process theories in 20 years of entrepreneurship studies. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 19: 453-477.

Swedberg R. (2000) Entrepreneurship: the social science view: Oxford University Press.

Watson T. (2012) Entrepreneurship–A Suitable Case for Sociological Treatment. Sociology Compass 6: 306-315.

Watson, T. (2013). Entrepreneurial action and the Euro-American social science tradition: pragmatism, realism and looking beyond ‘the entrepreneur’. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 25(1-2): 16-33.


Deadline for submissions is January 31st, 2016
First review decision is expected by March 2016

Submissions should follow the formal submission guidelines of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research (available in The contributors should submit electronically the paper through

Please send any queries regarding the special issue to any member of the guest editorial team.