The Centre for Entrepreneurship was founded in 2004 as part of the University's strategy for innovation and entrepreneurship. From January 1st 2018, the Centre for Entrepreneurship was encompassed in the Section for Digitalization and Entrepreneurship at the Department of Informatics.
Entrepreneurship is both an important research as well as educational field. Start-up firms and entrepreneurial organizations are a critical source of economic development and novelty, and key for tackling contemporary societal challenges. We take a holistic view and seek to illuminate entrepreneurial phenomena and innovation processes at the societal, organizational, team and individual level by exploring various themes and theoretical perspectives.
We seek to understand the underlying organizational, managerial, and social drivers that are connected to the emergence of viable innovations, new firms, as well as new markets and entrepreneurial ecosystems. There are several areas of research that we are specifically concerned with in this line of research:
We study the development of science-based entrepreneurship, that is, ventures that are based on novel technology. Investigating this topic on the firm-level, we investigate processes of entrepreneurial opportunity creation and identification, and the role of top management teams in the development of new science-based ventures. Moving beyond the firm-level, we illuminate the factors that provide a supportive culture for science-based entrepreneurship to emerge. In particular, we examine the entrepreneurial context emerging in universities and public research organizations including university technology transfer, academic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Institutional change and legitimacy
Innovations often initiate transition periods and processes of institutional change: changes inside the firm to adopt to a new technology, and changes of entire markets and industries moving from conventional to new technologies. We study such institutional change processes. We investigate the social and institutional factors that promote or hinder the development of innovations and new markets. We are also concerned with how firms legitimate their novel ideas and concepts under conditions of change and uncertainty.
Innovations in the global market
We perform research on disruptive and open innovations. In particular, we focus on the role of these types of innovations in the technological catching-up for global market leadership.
Traditional research approaches may not be ideally suited to studying the forms of governance at the very early stages of entrepreneurship in uncertain contexts, or what happens as the venture grows. We seek to advance knowledge on:
Entrepreneurial firms underlay divergent forms of governance than established firms. Whereas traditional governance approaches have been rooted in more explicit and complete contracting methods, the more uncertain environment startups operate in points towards the need for a better understanding of more implicit and incomplete governance and contracting approaches where trust and relational contracting are important ingredients. In particular, we examine how trust affects negotiation processes, and how different forms of trust affect entrepreneurial decision-making, as well as business and investment outcomes.
Growth and Scaling
Many promising high-tech start-ups face the difficulties to grow and scale up their businesses. This can be the scaling of their product and service portfolio, business model, or geographic expansion, such as the scaling from a domestic market to the international level. Specifically, we investigate processes of technological catching-up, that is, how latecomer tech-firms can grow towards becoming market leaders.
Over the past several decades, advancements in novel digital technologies and digitization have sparked a new generation of firms, products, services, and industries. The rise of the ‘digital age’ presents fundamental opportunities and challenges to our understanding of the dynamics of entrepreneurship and organizing, novel economic activities, and innovation processes.
We investigate how young as well as established companies approach the opportunities and challenges that come with the rise of the digital age. We study the dynamics within entrepreneurial ventures when creating or adopting digital innovations, and the tensions that may arise between digital and non-digital competencies or business models. The digital transformation also affects organizational and managerial processes in established enterprises – resulting in intrapreneurial activities as well as legitimacy struggles between conventional and new technologies.
Digital technologies are presumably shaping and changing not only companies, but also entire industries and ecosystems from conventional technologies to digital technologies and platforms. In particular, with the digital transformation, new business models, novel ways of entrepreneurial financing, and new economic models emerge that we investigate as part of our research agenda.
Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the topic of sustainability from the perspectives of academic scholars, policy makers, and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are finding new ways to add value for customers while also increasing social, technical, and environmental sustainability of their business processes.
Sustainable markets and industries
Sustainability increasingly matters in technology development, entrepreneurship, public policy, and corporate strategies. At a time of extraordinary social and environmental change, our research on sustainability seeks to contribute to addressing and tackling some of these challenges towards a more sustainable economy. We conduct research on the development of sustainable markets and industries. Of particular interest to us is research on clean transportation, renewable energy, and the role of sustainability in legitimating new economic activities and business ideas.