Sub-Plenary 2-4

The Power of Entrepreneurship in a World of Uncertainty and Crisis: Illusions and Realities


Friday, July 7, 2023, 16:00–17:30 CEST

Campus Magistero | Via Is Mirrionis 1 | 09127 Cagliari
Building Aggiunto, floor 1, room: Magna Capitini

Alain Fayolle, University of Cagliari, Italy
Stratos Ramoglou, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Michela Loi, University of Cagliari, Italy
Karin Berglund, Stockholm University, Sweden
Dimo Dimov, University of Bath, United Kingdom
Denise Fletcher, University of Luxembourg
Daniel Hjorth, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Sarah Jack, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden
André Spicer, Bayes Business School, United Kingdom

Our developed and developing societies actually are facing social, economic, ecological, climate, health crisis and challenges. Twenty years ago, at the 2002 Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, Jacques Chirac, then-President of France, claimed about climate change: “Our house is burning and we are looking at the other way.” More recently, most countries had to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Scarcity of natural resources, unemployment, marginalized/disadvantaged/disabled people and minorities, in the same line of thoughts, raise key issues.
Can entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education be viewed as solutions for developing new socially valuable opportunities for a better future?
The objective of this sub-plenary session is to engage scholars in a meaningful discussion around the role and true impact of entrepreneurship research and entrepreneurship education in our changing world to help students, learners, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, managers, taking care of key societal challenges and finding the right way to deal with and fix them. Our house is still burning: what are we doing, what should we do, what should be our “raison d’être” as entrepreneurship researchers and educators?

Since a long time, entrepreneurship is perceived as the white knight endowed with power to contribute to economic growth and job creation (Audretsch, 2007; Thurik et al., 2008; Obschonka et al., 2010). Entrepreneurship, through three types, social, environmental and sustainable entrepreneurship is also examined as a process of socioeconomic transformation that might move humanity towards sustainability-as-flourishing (Schaefer et al., 2015). Responding to the need of inclusion, entrepreneurship researchers have been interested, for a while, in studying issues and providing actionable knowledge about so-called marginalized groups or minorities such as women (for example, Ahl, 2006), elderly individuals (for example, Kautonen, 2008), immigrants (for example, Naudé et al., 2017), ethnic minorities (for example, Basu, 2008), disabled people (for example, Jammaers & Williams, 2021), or those living in poverty conditions (Santos et al., 2022). Finally, health crisis and notably Covid-19 pandemic have been scrutinized by entrepreneurship scholars in their profound implications for society at political, economic, social and educational levels (Bacq & Lumpkin, 2020; Ketchen & Craighead, 2020; Liguori & Winkler, 2020).
In a world going through such tremendous changes, public policies, political/institutional discourses, entrepreneurship research, education and training contribute to diffuse a positive image and shape a collective imagination of entrepreneurship as a powerful way to turn threats into opportunities and facilitate the good life of people, organizations and society. Critical studies in entrepreneurship (for example, Jones & Spicer, 2009) and entrepreneurship education (for example, Berglund and Verduijn, 2018; Loi et al., 2021) tell a quite different story and reveal a much more contrasted (and sometimes darker) representation of entrepreneurship as a socioeconomic phenomenon and a field of research and teaching.
The themes related to our main question – “Can entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education be viewed as solutions for developing new socially valuable opportunities for a better future?” – that this sub-plenary session will cover are the following:

  • What types of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship can we expect to address societal issues?

  • What role can entrepreneurship education play in this debate?

  • What theoretical perspectives from philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, and history might be useful in fueling our research and teaching practices?

  • In this uncertain and changing world, how should current social challenges shape the role of entrepreneurship researchers?

  • To advance the field of entrepreneurship, how can we (re)challenge and overcome long-held assumptions, stereotypes, and ideologies?


Ahl, H. (2006): “Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new directions.” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30 (5), 595–621.
Audretsch, D.B. (2007): The Entrepreneurial Society. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bacq, S., & Lumpkin, G.T. (2020): “Social entrepreneurship and COVID‐19.” Journal of Management Studies, 58 (1), 285–288.
Basu, A. (2008): “Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship.” In: A. Basu, M. Casson, N. Wadeson & B. Yeung (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurship. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 580–600.
Berglund, K., & Verduijn, K. (2018): “Introduction: Challenges for entrepreneurship education.” In: K. Berglund & K. Verduyn (eds.): Revitalizing Entrepreneurship Education. Adopting a Critical Approach in the Classroom. London: Routledge, 3–24.
Jammaers, E., & Williams, J. (2021): “Care for the self, overcompensation and bodily crafting: The work–life balance of disabled people.” Gender, Work & Organization, 28 (1), 119–137.
Jones, C., & Spicer, A. (2009): Unmasking the Entrepreneur. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publisher.
Kautonen, T. (2008): “Understanding the older entrepreneur: Comparing third age and prime age entrepreneurs in Finland.” International Journal of Business Science & Applied Management, 3 (3), 3–13.
Ketchen, Jr. D.J., & Craighead, C.W. (2020): “Research at the intersection of entrepreneurship, supply chain management, and strategic management: Opportunities highlighted by COVID-19.” Journal of Management, 46 (8), 1330–1341.
Liguori, E., & Winkler, C. (2020): “From offline to online: Challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship education following the COVID-19 pandemic.” Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, 3 (4), 346–351.
Loi, M., Fayolle, A., van Gelderen, M., et al. (2022): “Entrepreneurship education at the crossroads: challenging taken-for-granted assumptions and opening new perspectives.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 31 (2), 123–134.
Naudé, W., Siegel, M., & Marchand, K. (2017): “Migration, entrepreneurship and development: critical questions.” IZA Journal of Migration, 6 (1), 1–16.
Obschonka, M., Silbereisen, R.K., & Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (2010): “Entrepreneurial intention as developmental outcome.” Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77 (1), 63–72.
Santos, S.C., Costa, S., & Morris, M.H. (2022): “Entrepreneurship as a pathway into and out of poverty: a configuration perspective.” Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 34 (1–2), 82– 109.
Schaefer, K., Corner, P. D., & Kearins, K. (2015): “Social, environmental and sustainable entrepreneurship research: what is needed for sustainability-as-flourishing?” Organization & Environment, 28 (4), 394–413.
Thurik, A.R., Carree, M.A., Van Stel, A., & Audretsch, D B. (2008): “Does self-employment reduce unemployment?” Journal of Business Venturing, 23 (6), 673–686.

Karin Berglund is Professor of Business Administration with specialization in Entrepreneurship at Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, Sweden, and Visiting Professor at Nord University in Norway. Her overarching research interest lies in studying entrepreneurship as part of an enterprise culture and contributing to critical management, organization, and entrepreneurship studies.
Dimo Dimov is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Bath, United Kingdom. Dimo’s research focuses on entrepreneurial thinking, process, and practice. It has been widely published in international journals.
Alain Fayolle is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CREA), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Denise Fletcher is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Luxembourg. Her research focuses on the roles and responsibilities small businesses, entrepreneurial ventures and family organizations have in effecting a more equitable society that respects and protects human rights.
Daniel Hjorth is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organisation at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His research is focused on the organizational conditions for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and on social entrepreneurship.

Sarah Jack is the Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg Professor of Innovative and Sustainable Business Development at the Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, and leads the Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg Centre for Innovative and Sustainable Business Development.

Michela Loi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of Cagliari, Italy. Her research interests are in the theoretical and empirical study of entrepreneurship learning and education, particularly in organizational contexts such as universities, with a focus on the relationship between the individual and the context in which entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs are situated as agents of change.
Stratos Ramoglou is Professor of Entrepreneurship Studies and Head of the Department of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Southampton Business School, United Kingdom.