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Micro Level Academic Entrepreneurship

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Management Development

Special Issue Proposal for
Journal of Management Development
Micro Level Academic Entrepreneurship

Guest Editors:

James A. Cunningham, Northumbria University, UK

Matthias Menter, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany


Due to the paradigm shift of universities towards knowledge transfer, innovation, and commercialization, universities are increasingly expected to deliver tangible outcomes, for example through academic spin-outs, material transfer agreements, patents, or licenses. Such a shift has changed the nature and scope of academic entrepreneurship within universities and public research organizations. Research on academic entrepreneurship has been broad in scope and focus. Literature in this field has examined performance and impact of academic entrepreneurship activities and approaches that are shaped by institutional and national contexts and policy environments and has identified critical levers for encouraging entrepreneurial activities within the academic context. The extant literature in this field has shed light on processes and mechanisms supporting or impeding the transformation of universities, has yet neglected to focus on the micro level, hence individual scientists, other university institutional individual actors and those who affect them. Within the field of academic entrepreneurship, there is a growing research focus as well as several empirical studies that deal with scientists in the principal investigator (PI) role and how these actors are shaped and influenced within their scientific environment, i.e. their academic institutions, as well as beyond, e.g. through public funding bodies. One of the interesting issues to emerge from this body of research to date is the lack of and need for management development of individual actors to support their academic entrepreneurship behaviors.

The purpose of this special issue is to deepen and advance our understanding of academic entrepreneurship at the micro level. In particular, how management development approaches, institutional settings and supports encourage and shape individual actors, particularly scientists, in their active participation in academic entrepreneurship. This special issue focuses on how scientific actors are empowered to engage in their entrepreneurial endeavors both inside and outside their institutions. It thus concentrates on relevant actors and decision-makers of academic ecosystems and their specific roles in supporting scientific outcomes that are meant to create value for society, ranging from academic actors such as TTO directors and deans to policy makers defining and incentivizing distinct scientific trajectories and behaviors. Our focus is to explore at the micro level how changes in the academic setting are initiated, expedited, and governed and how these changes influence individual actors’ behaviors with respect to academic entrepreneurship. Furthermore, we are interested in exploring at the micro level how academic entrepreneurship ultimately creates value through the interplay of these various actors. Moreover, from a management development and organizational structure perspective, a focus of this special issue is to explore other individual institutional actors within and outside university or public research organizations that support, enable or constrain individual academic entrepreneurship. We invite theoretical and empirical studies taking different methodological approaches from a variety of discipline perspectives to explore the micro level academic entrepreneurship. We also welcome conceptual papers that explore the theme of this special issue.


  •   How do external factors influence and shape individual micro level academic entrepreneurship behavior?
  •     What is the actual role and influence of deans, senior and middle management in the academic context in supporting and implementing an institutional entrepreneurial culture that supports academic entrepreneurship at the micro level?
  •     How do Technology Transfer Office, Human Resource, Career Development, Finance and Risk directors shape the academic entrepreneurship processes and individual academics’/scientists’ behaviors within universities and public research organizations?
  •    What is the role of policy makers and funding bodies in shaping and supporting the management development of scientists to ensure that they have the necessary resources and capabilities to pursue micro level academic entrepreneurship that ultimately enhances and strengthens the tangible returns on public research investments?
  •   How do scientists in the PI role shape institutional academic entrepreneurship and how do PIs ultimately create value for the scientific community and beyond through their academic entrepreneurship activities?
  •    Which organizational conditions are needed to establish an entrepreneurial spirit and academic entrepreneurship across academic and graduate communities?
  •    How relevant, sufficient and impactful are existing formal institutional and management development supports in enhancing micro level academic entrepreneurship and empowering individual actors such as scientists, graduates, students etc.
  •     To what extent do alumni, graduates, and students in general have a significant impact on entrepreneurial attitudes and outcomes at universities?
  •    What factors influence micro level academic entrepreneurship failure?
  •   What management development supports accelerate academic entrepreneurship at the micro level?



Audretsch, D. B., Lehmann, E. E., & Paleari, S. (2015). Academic policy and entrepreneurship: A European perspective. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 40(3), 363-368.
Autio, E., Kenney, M., Mustar, P., Siegel, D., & Wright, M. (2014). Entrepreneurial innovation: The importance of context. Research Policy, 43(7), 1097-1108.
Belitski, M., & Heron, K. (2017). Expanding entrepreneurship education ecosystems. Journal of Management Development, 36(2), 163-177.
Bercovitz, J., & Feldman, M. (2008). Academic entrepreneurs: Organizational change at the individual level. Organization Science, 19(1), 69-89.
Cunningham, J. A., Menter, M., & O'Kane, C. (2018). Value creation in the quadruple helix: a micro level conceptual model of principal investigators as value creators. R&D Management, 48(1), 136-147.
Cunningham, J. A., O'Reilly, P., O'Kane, C., & Mangematin, V. (2015). Managerial challenges of publicly funded principal investigators. International Journal of Technology Management, 68(3-4), 176-202.
Goethner, M., Obschonka, M., Silbereisen, R. K., & Cantner, U. (2012). Scientists’ transition to academic entrepreneurship: economic and psychological determinants. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(3), 628-641.
Guerrero, M., & Urbano, D. (2016). The impact of Triple Helix agents on entrepreneurial innovations' performance: An inside look at enterprises located in an emerging economy. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 119, 294-309.
Jain, S., George, G., & Maltarich, M. (2009). Academics or entrepreneurs? Investigating role identity modification of university scientists involved in commercialization activity. Research Policy, 38(6), 922-935.
Leyden, D. P., & Link, A. N. (2015). Public sector entrepreneurship: US technology and innovation policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Mangematin, V., O’Reilly, P., & Cunningham, J. (2014). PIs as boundary spanners, science and market shapers. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 39(1), 1-10.
Menter, M. (2016). Principal Investigators and the Commercialization of Knowledge. In D. Audretsch, Lehmann, E.E., Vismara, S., Meoli, M. (Ed.), University Evolution, Entrepreneurial Activity and Regional Competitiveness (pp. 193-203). Heidelberg: Springer.
Caiazza, R., Shane, S., & Ferrara, G. (2017). Guest editorial – Entrepreneurial university: geographical and strategic differences around the world. Journal of Management Development, 36(2), 142-145.
Wright, M. (2014). Academic entrepreneurship, technology transfer and society: where next?. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 39(3), 322-334.


•    All manuscripts will be double-blind reviewed
•    Manuscripts should follow the style guidelines of the Journal of Management Development
•    Manuscripts are submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and are not being submitted elsewhere
•    Manuscripts should be submitted to by 30th August 2019
•    Please indicate both in the uploading process and on your paper clearly that your submission is for the Special Issue Micro Level Academic Entrepreneurship
•    Paper details:
-    First page: manuscript title and author(s) names, institutional affiliation(s), contact information
-    Second page: manuscript title and brief (100 word maximum) biography of each of the authors.
-    Third page: manuscript title and brief (250 word maximum) abstract of the paper.
-    Fourth page and following: manuscript title followed by the text of paper.
-    Third, fourth, and pages following should have no reference to, or name(s) of, the author(s)
-    The paper is between 4000 and 5000 words in length. In exceptional circumstances, a longer paper of exceptional quality may be accepted.

For further information please contact Professor James Cunningham at


James Cunningham is Professor of Strategic Management and Director of Research and Innovation, Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University (UK). His research interests intersect innovation, entrepreneurship and strategic management. His current research interests focus on strategy issues with respect to principal investigators as scientific entrepreneurs, university technology transfer and commercialization, academic and technology entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial universities and business failure. He has published in leading journals such as Research Policy, Long Range Planning, Small Business Economics, R&D Management, Journal of Rural Studies, Journal of Small Business Management and the Journal of Technology Transfer among others. Some of his books on strategy and technology entrepreneurship have been published with Oxford University Press and Palgrave McMillan. He has co-edited special issues for Journal of Technology Transfer, Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Journal of Small Enterprise Research and the Irish Journal of Management. He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Technology Transfer.

Matthias Menter is Assistant Professor of Business Dynamics, Innovation and Economic Change at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). He received his Ph.D. in Management from the University of Augsburg (Germany), where he was a researcher at the Department of Management and Organization. He has further worked at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University – Bloomington (USA) as a visiting scholar and adjunct lecturer. In 2016, he was introduced into the Institute for Development Strategies (IDS) at Indiana University as a junior research fellow, led by David B. Audretsch. His current research focuses on aspects of entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystems, academic entrepreneurship, university-industry collaborations and public policy. He has published in leading journals such as Journal of Technology Transfer, Small Business Economics, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Journal of Business Economics, and R&D Management among others and has co-edited a special issue in the Journal of Technology Transfer.