How to write an entrepreneurship (journal) article?

Okay, I am not answering that question. Honestly, I am far from advising you how to do it! I have just about begun to publish in the top entrepreneurship journals!

But what if you can learn it from two of the best scholars in entrepreneurship research – Dean A Shepherd and Johan Wiklund. The two of them have, jointly, distilled their long years of experience with writing academic articles into an article. How can you miss it? Here is the link (and I see that it is free to read for now): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1042258719845888

If you are even remotely interested in academic research, especially in entrepreneurship, this article is a must read. If you aspire to publish in the top entrepreneurship journals, this is the “how-to” manual. I was lucky to learn this directly from Johan when he was with us last month at Nord University and provided a short seminar on this paper.

Johan Workshop
Photo Courtesy: Einar

 

This is not the first article on how to publish in top entrepreneurship journals (there are even books by the same title) and this certainly will not be the last, but it is highly contextual for entrepreneurship scholars. For me, it is also special as both Johan and Dean are whom I admire, look up to, and now closely learn from.

And as both Johan and Dean will agree, the difficulty is in developing the discipline to practice their suggestions. This is hard work!

Babson’s 39th BCERC and my 3rd

It was great being there at the 39th Babson College Entrepreneurship Research BCERC 19 - 5Conference (BCERC) earlier this month. It was my third time at the BCERC and it was special for two additional reasons: (i) it was my first visit to the Babson College at Wellesley, MA and (ii) it was Babson College’s Centennial year.

I represented Nord University Business School. We were four colleagues at the BCERC 2019. Since we landed into Boston early, we spent our day visiting MIT’s Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Harvard’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. It was great knowing both these centers and what they do for promoting entrepreneurship on their campuses. At Harvard Business School we also had BCERC 19 - 4a great lunch and spent time absorbing the intellectual air at the famed Baker Library.

The conference began with the Welcome reception! It felt like an annual reunion of sorts. It felt like being home with so many familiar faces. The socials during the conference gave us enough time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. We rubbed shoulders with the who-is-who in the world of entrepreneurship research. I interacted with Alexander McKelvie, Frederic Delmar, Andrew Corbett, Phillip Kim, Candida Brush among others. It was such a pleasure meeting my 2016 BCERC Doctoral Consortium cohort mates. It was nice to chat about how our careers have shifted and progressed – some assistant professors and a few postdocs.BCERC 19 - 6

All of us presented our papers at the conference. We received feedback on our work. The general learning about scholarship was reiterated and remains valid: work on interesting research questions; be rigorous with methods and reporting; ask those before you for help; get friendly reviews; never submit a first draft to a journal; read exemplars; learn the craft by co-working with seniors. During this year’s conference I noticed: fsQCA was on more papers than I had seen before and more global representation of scholars (including one from India).

BCERC 19 - 1

The Boston weather was conducive for great discussions and long walks. Overall it was a great conference. I now look forward to the next BCERC at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The Future of Conducting and Publishing Research in Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management and Strategy

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Bologna Workshop 2019 Group Photo, Courtesy: Bologna Business School

I am happy that a couple of my papers were accepted for the paper development workshop (PDW) at this futuristic event. It was also special as the workshop was hosted at The University of Bologna which is the Western World’s oldest University, running continuously since 1088, just a wee bit shy of its 1000th birthday! (Yes, you saw it right, thousandth b’day)

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My working group, Courtesy: Einar Rasmussen

The workshop assembled a small group of established and early-career scholars! The stellar line-up of senior scholars represented the editorial boards of some of the best journals in management (e.g. AMJ, Org Science, SMJ, ETP, SEJ) and entrepreneurship (at least 10 FT50 journals). It was such an amazing experience walking and talking with the stars in management and entrepreneurship research. It was an equally amazing opportunity to make friends with peers across several topics within business and management.

The inspiring setting, the historic ‘Villa Guastavillani’ – a wonderful location on a hill in Bologna which also hosts the Bologna Business School, just raised our intellectual aspirations. I received high quality feedback (and so did every early-career scholar) on my papers from Johan Wiklund (Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice), Frederic Delmar (Associate Editor, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal) and Alfredo De Massis (Associate Editor, Family Business Review). I am confident that this will help me prepare my paper for potential submission to a top ranked journal in management or entrepreneurship. The senior scholars were candid yet friendly. The constructive and developmental nature of the feedback received by me and my peers will help us improve as scholars apart from taking our specific papers forward.

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Ask the editors session, Courtesy: Einar Rasmussen
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Where it all started, Courtesy: Einar Rasmussen

 

In addition to the paper feedback sessions, the senior scholars also engaged in debates around issues concerning people within academia – open access publishing and where to publish. The lively sessions brought out many lighter moments while exposing the complexity of knowledge creation. We had adequate time and access to some of the best scholars in the world to answer our naive questions.

I thank the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Nord University Business School, Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS) and University of Bologna for hosting such a wonderful workshop. This enabled about twenty early-career scholars like myself to move our research forward. I am sure it provided adequate inspiration and guidance for us to plan and pursue our academic careers.

All of us left the workshop feeling deeply satisfied and sufficiently inspired for raising our scholarly aspirations.

Teaching a PhD Course

Last week I offered my first full PhD course to doctoral students of Nord University. It was a 7.5 credit course on Qualitative Research Methods. I have been working on this course for about six months now. I co-taught this course with two Professors – Prof Helle Neergaard of Aarhus University and Prof Einar Rasmussen of Nord University. All three of us are qualitative researchers with papers published in top journals. Additionally, Helle Neergaard is a popular qualitative methods specialist with two published handbooks – one on methods and the second on techniques and analysis. The former inspired my taking to qualitative research during my PhD days.

Since the course was aimed at doctoral students in management and entrepreneurship, PhD Course 2019 Bodowe sifted through the literature to find method articles and exemplars for the reading list. The final reading list included 13 articles – five method articles and eight exemplar articles. The course primarily focused on grounded theory, case studies (single and multiple), data analysis approaches (e.g. coding) and methodologies like the Gioia approach. The exemplar papers showcased how these methods and techniques were successfully used by scholars.

The course required students to submit a pre-course assignment of their dissertation or a paper project. The students had diverse research interests ranging from arts entrepreneurship education to continuous auditing implementation. It was a pleasure to see their motivations in exploring their respective phenomena of interest. We designed the course to build on student papers. The sessions included lectures, group discussions around exemplar articles and hands-on group work on their individual papers.

We went out for a nice social on one of the days. Ohma, a wonderful Asian/Sushi restaurant in Bodo, provided a nice ambiance to socialize and make new friends. We completed the course on a high note with the students capturing their learning and feedback. The students will now work on their post-course assignment and hopefully have working drafts of their papers soon.

It was a great experience teaching a PhD course. While distinctly different from graduate/post-graduate courses, it provided a great opportunity to reflect more deeply on research methods, especially qualitative. The questions from budding scholars helped refine my existing knowledge and triggered the search for new knowledge too. I came away as a more reflective qualitative scholar after teaching this course. I now look forward to teach my next PhD course. This is a different kind of fun.

Imperial’s Corporate Accelerator Symposium

It was fantastic to participate in the Corporate Accelerator Symposium, albeit from afar. The Live telecast of the day long event was amazing! The event was so well put-together that it kept me gripped to my office chair the entire day. You can look at the amazing list of speakers and panelists here: http://corpacceleration.com/

The topic of corporate accelerators is close to my heart. I studied it for my doctoral work.IMG_8079 I also had recently published a paper titled “Accelerating strategic fit or venture emergence: Different paths adopted by corporate accelerators” (co-author: Dean A Shepherd) in The Journal of Business Venturing. You can read the paper here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883902617308376

 

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Reference from Prof Perkmann’s Presentation

It was heartening to see Professors Markus Perkmann and Mike Wright of Imperial College, London refer to our paper in their keynote presentations. They set the stage for the day’s deliberations. This was followed by a series of panels comprising early practitioners of corporate accelerators and corporate innovation from leading and large corporations – Airbus, Swisscom, IBM, Bosch, Unilever, Daimler and others. There were also executives from sector specific accelerators, industry driven accelerators and collaborative accelerators. The discussions and the Q&A

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Reference from Prof Wright’s Presentation

sessions provided insights into present practices, where corporate innovation was probably headed and how corporate accelerators are an important constituent of this innovation arsenal for forward looking corporations.

Researchers interested in accelerators, like myself, were provided enough pointers to potential research topics by practitioners. It also provided enough time to reflect on where the next set of research studies should focus. I was excited as I made notes on a range of research questions about corporate accelerators that I would love to explore. The last session presented by Cristobal Garcia-Herrera and Prof Markus Perkmann from Imperial College provided an indication of the immense learning offered during the day.

I experienced the power of networking during the event, though I attended it virtually. I connected to other attendees virtually via Twitter and Linkedin and left the event with more potential collaborations. The day ended on a high note when Cristobal Garcia-Herrera invited me to present at the next edition of the Symposium.

Thank you Imperial College, London for a great experience and a day of learning. I am now eagerly awaiting the next Corporate Accelerator Symposium.

Doing Business Rankings: India moves up again

The Doing Business 2019 report and rankings are out and India has had yet another spectacular rise in her performance and rankings. Here is the way to read the Doing Business 2019 Report — http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/doingbusiness

It has been a spectacular ride for India over the last two years. For a second year in a row, India remains a top upward mover in the popular “Doing Business Rankings” published by the World Bank. We are also the only country to be on the top 10 improvers for the year, for a second consecutive time. See the move in ranks over the past 3 years:

India’s Rank in 2017 – 130

India’s Rank in 2018 – 100

India’s Rank in 2019 – 77

A brief overview of India’s profile as per the report: http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/india

While we are doing well on the overall “ease of doing business” ranking and scores, there are places where we need significant changes and improvement, especially for creating a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  • We are still ranked 137 in starting a business (not great news for entrepreneurs)
  • We are still ranked 166 in registering a property
  • We are still ranked 121 in paying taxes
  • We are still ranked 163 in enforcing contracts
  • We are still ranked 108 in resolving insolvency (again, not great news for entrepreneurs)

If all of us put our minds and hearts together we can address these specific areas of weakness and move up even further in the rankings. Exciting times, to say the least! With all the complexities and challenges, it is still getting better to be an entrepreneur in India.

Explore India!

A visit to Tromso to discuss Industry-Academia linkages

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Design Thinking Lab activity at the University of Tromso (high up north in the Arctic), Norway. About 30 of us spent two hours thinking deeply about a challenge that is widely acknowledged — reducing the chasm between research (happening in Universities) and practice (happening within industries). The event was part of a research project to identify how to make this work.

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All of us working together at the Design Thinking Lab. Photo Courtesy: Prof Rasmussen

The workshop was fun and facilitated by a pair of young entrepreneurs who run Design Thinking workshops for students and corporations. We sat in what they called, “The DTLab” – a space created for such activities.

The group was wonderful with two-thirds of the participants from industry and the remaining third from academia (of which I was a part). It was fun with a lot of productive outcomes. At the end it seemed to me that both sides (university and industry) were equally interested in closing this gap, and one of the biggest challenges was — lack of regular interactions to build solutions. Both sides agreed to implement at least one idea (of the many ideas we came up with). I am sure this will yield results.

When I first visited Bodo, I thought it was quite up north. But after I traveled further to Tromso, I realized I was pretty wrong! Some of my colleagues in the meeting actually traveled south for it 🙂 So there is a great world left to explore – high north! In any case, it was my first visit to Tromso – a historic city in the Arctic . It has been and also is, an important city to begin exploring the Arctic region.

I understand that it is geographically well suited to view both the “Northern Lights” (Aurora Borealis) and the “Midnight Sun” – two amazing natural phenomena happening in the Arctic.

We walked around the city center a little in the evening and visited some popular bars and restaurants. It was scenic and enjoyable looking at the fjords, the sea and the mountains. I now look forward to my next trip in the “High North”.