Provocation Statement - Strategic Entrepreneurial Leadership - So What? How do we ensure that Strategic Entrepreneurial Leadership co-creates and exchanges knowledge with policy makers and practitioners?

Peter Pease

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea – BuddhaGood ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience – Hyman RickoverFor the idea of strategic entrepreneurial leadership (SEL) to become more that a collection of contemporary buzzwords strung together as if by Dilbert’s Random Mission Statement Generator (Adams, 2000); (and arguably based on borrowed constructs from the incommensurate fields of design, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship), it needs to be able to show that it will impact on practice and policy as well as add to the development of theory. This deliberately provocative paper will set out some of the challenges faced by academic research generally and SEL specifically and provide an example of good practice using an impact planning framework. For SEL to be credible it must be able to answer the question, “How will this impact on practice?”One of the better aspects of management research is that few people die as a result of it. The same cannot be said of medicine where, perhaps the most notorious example is that of Dr Spock (Spock, 1946) whose seminal book on childcare advised parents to place infants on their tummies to sleep, and has been credited with death of 50,000 children (Gilbert et al., 2005). Twenty Sackett et al. (1996) proposed that better results would be achieved if medicine adopted an evidence based approach and this has largely been adopted by the health services in most developed countries with impressive results.Whilst few people die as a result of bad management research, the research practice divide has exorcised management researchers (Rynes, 2007, Reibstein et al., 2009) and attempts have been made to adopt an evidence based approach to management research through the adoption of evidence based management (Briner et al., 2009, Rousseau, 2006, Reay et al., 2009, Briner, 1998) and more recently the ideas have been extended to entrepreneurship research (Frese et al., 2012, Frese et al., 2014). The approach is not without its critics (Briner et al., 2009) but there is a strong argument that good research should be led by the demands of practice. This is reinforced by the fact in the current UK’s Research Excellence Framework ( 25% of the scores used to rank UK research universities will be based on impact measures which are largely about impact on practice. Also within the UK there is mounting pressure to ensure knowledge exchange between universities and communities of practice across all discipline (Reed et al., 2014).The following framework has been adapted from the framework developed by (Hill, 2016, Reed, 2016, Reed et al., 2014) and could be useful in developing something similar for SEL.IMPACT PROCESS1.Design: think about the impacts we might achieve through SEL research.2.Stakeholder identification: develop a list of all of the different stakeholder types who might be interested in our research, and might benefit from it. E.g. Policy makers, entrepreneurship educators, nascent entrepreneurs, ecosystem managers and mentors.3.Stakeholder engagement 1: develop two-way dialogue with stakeholders and establish what they need and want, as far as possible, without leading them. The research plan should be informed and directed by stakeholder needs.4.Stakeholder engagement 2: discuss the final research plan with key stakeholders to ensure that it is going to address practitioner relevant questions.5.Stakeholder engagement 3: ongoing dialogue. Discuss early findings with stakeholders and ensure changes in research direction are fully discussed with stakeholders.6.Early impact: share and disseminate interesting research findings on an ongoing basis. We do not need to wait until academic papers have been written and accepted before disseminating the results of our research. We need to bear in mind that practitioners will want help in solving their problems as soon as possible.7.Reflect and sustain: reflect on ongoing impact initiatives and explore how they can be improved. POSSIBLE OUTPUTSTypes of impact could operate at different levels (Individual, Organisational, Systemic and Local / National / European / Global) and will, to a certain extent, be determined by the results of stakeholder engagements.SYSTEMIC OUTPUTSGrowth of entrepreneurial firms; new startups within firms, new firms being created, new ecosystems being developed, addressing of systemic imbalances in different economies, changes to entrepreneurship gender balance.INDIVIDUAL & ORGANISATIONALStakeholders: Employers, Employers, Individuals / departments within organisations, Sector specific, Policy MakersOutput examples: Academic Papers (UK Research Excellence Framework Impact Case Studies), Research Handbooks, Case studies, Entrepreneurial Leadership toolkits, Curriculum Enhancement, Learning Materials, Competence Frameworks, Impact Activities: Networking, Knowledge Transfer, Training, Academic Conferences, Practitioner Conferences, Delivering Commercial Programmes, Trade Fairs, Membership Practitioner / Research Association, Press Engagement, Engaging Professional Bodies, To action the above we need to address the following issues:•What assumptions are we making? Employers / Young Talent / Universities / Researchers.•Who are all our different stakeholders? An exhaustive list!•What do our stakeholders want and need? To inform the research design.•What are different impact requirements in different countries and institutions.•How do we capture stakeholder feedback?In summary, the question we need to ask is, “What could be the impact of Strategic Entrepreneurial Leadership beyond academia?”
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
EventInstitute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017: ‘Borders’, prosperity and entrepreneurial responses - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Nov 20179 Nov 2017


ConferenceInstitute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017
Abbreviated titleISBE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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