CfP International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business ESU 2018 Special Issue on: “Fostering European Entrepreneurship Research through a Human Action Perspective”

Call for Papers International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business

ESU 2018 Special Issue on: “Fostering European Entrepreneurship Research through a Human Action Perspective”

IJESB Call for Papers

Guest Editors: Associate Prof. Agnieszka Kurczewska, University of Lodz, Poland Prof. Francisco Liñán, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain Prof. Hans Landström, Lund University, Sweden Prof. Alain Fayolle, Emlyon Business School, France

The purpose of this special issue is to launch an academic debate on new trends in entrepreneurship research in terms of conceptual coverage and methodological advancements. It is aimed at expanding the dialogue on the diverse and dynamic dimensions of entrepreneurship, which are understood as both a phenomenon and a research field. To gain more legitimacy as well as become a unique discipline, entrepreneurship research needs to have self-defined content and, despite a proliferation of topics and approaches, it must share some common understandings of the phenomenon. One prospective connection of dispersed research threads could be a human action perspective, in which there is a perception of entrepreneurship as a human experience and interaction, with entrepreneurs as acting human beings. This standpoint is deeply rooted in the European tradition of interpreting entrepreneurship and seems to be a logical binder of previous developmental stages of entrepreneurship as a field. Therefore, this special issue aims to resolve the most evident research deficits regarding different aspects of entrepreneurial human action as an emerging topic in entrepreneurship by illuminating the nature of entrepreneurship as a human endeavour. It is also seen as a vehicle to develop and communicate the European perspective on entrepreneurship research (Dana et al., 2008).

Historically, entrepreneurship as a field of research has its foundations in European economics (Landström, 2004; Fayolle, 2003), mainly in German historical (represented by Schumpeter) and Austrian schools of economics (with von Mises and Kirzner as the most recognised representatives). With time, the focus of research has moved from classical and neo-classical theories and discussions on entrepreneurial functions towards individuals, including the inherent and enduring characteristics that make them entrepreneurial (Carland et al., 1988). However, trait theories received their critics due to their static character and methodological weaknesses. When behavioural theories emerged, they aimed to better understand entrepreneurial processes and actions. As a consequence, a remarkable development, which still seems to dominate in the European research tradition, occurred on the behavioural side of entrepreneurship (Gartner, 1988; Gartner, 1989). To help answer the question of how entrepreneurs take actions, the cognitive stream of research (Baron, 1998; Mitchell et al., 2002) emerged; it included entrepreneurial intentions, attitudes, perceptions and cognitive schemas as the main objects of its investigation.

The themes that have received more attention in entrepreneurship research include the following:

  • The process perspective of entrepreneurship, which is understood both as enacting opportunity (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000) and the way a new firm is brought into existence (Gartner, 1989);
  • The entrepreneurial action, which is understood both as discovery and creation, and is the foundation of understanding entrepreneurship (Alvarez and Barney, 2007); and The entrepreneurial decision-making and judgmental process (Foss and Klein, 2012; Mitchell et al., 2002).


In synthesising the above debate, each of these concepts may broaden their meaning when discussed in the context of human action and when the role of human agency in entrepreneurial processes is emphasised. The entrepreneur, seen as an individual with a particular set of traits, is replaced by the agency; and the agency is brought by entrepreneurs who think, discover, create and enact. Taking the human action perspective moves the research interest into how individuals create or discover opportunities and expends their research ambition towards exploring the dynamics of individual processes and their determinants. The entrepreneurial process is seen as one involving actions that are connected by perceiving opportunities and creating organisations to pursue those opportunities (Bygrave, 2007). However, it is not enough to study entrepreneurs’ actions alone (Dimov, 2011); the focus could be on the interplay between actions and insights, which are part of entrepreneurial experiences. In this sense, entrepreneurial actions are either external expressions or consequences of a person’s reflections, judgments and decisions. This then shifts the interest towards entrepreneurs as experiencing actors who are in the process of creating and enacting.

Special issue proposals should have the potential to make a substantial impact on research pertaining to the human-action view on entrepreneurship and expand the scope of methodologies used in entrepreneurship research (Dana and Dana, 2005; Dana and Dumez, 2015). In particular, this special issue is aimed at collecting both empirical and theoretical contributions that build on the complexity of entrepreneurship as well as provide new insights and provoke further discussion on how entrepreneurs make decisions and take actions from the perspective of human endeavour and human interaction based on both behavioural and cognitive patterns. It will bring value to academics because it will indicate the conceptual and methodological trends that are applied in entrepreneurship research. Interpretations of entrepreneurship as a human action in the European context are particularly welcome.



Alvarez, S.A., Barney, J.B. (2007). Discovery and creation: alternative theories of entrepreneurial action, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 1(1-2), 11-26. Baron, R. (1998). Cognitive mechanisms in entrepreneurship: why and when entrepreneurs think differently than other people, Journal of Business Venturing 13(4), 275-294. Bygrave, W. D. (2007). The entrepreneurship paradigm (I) revisited. Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Entrepreneurship, 17-48. Carland, J. W., Hoy, F., & Carland, J. A. (1988). “Who is an entrepreneur?” is a question worth asking. American Journal of Small Business, 12(4), 33-39. Dana, L.P., Dana, T.E. (2005). Expanding the scope of methodologies used in entrepreneurship research, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2(1), 79-88. Dana, L.P., I.M. Welpe, M. Han & V. Ratten (2008). Handbook of research on European business and entrepreneurship: Towards a theory of internationalization. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Dana, L.P., Dumez, H. (2015). Qualitative Research Revisited: Epistemology of a Comprehensive Approach, International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business 26(2), 154-170. Dimov, D. (2011). Grappling with the Unbearable Elusiveness of Entrepreneurial Opportunities, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 35, 57-81. Fayolle, A. (2003). Research and researchers at the heart of entrepreneurial situations, in Steyaert, C, Hjorth, D. (eds) New Movements in Entrepreneurship, Cheltenham-Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 35-50. Foss, N. J., Klein, P. G. (2012). Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment. New York, Cambridge University Press. Gartner, W. B. (1988). “Who is an entrepreneur?” is the wrong question. American Journal of Small Business, 12 (4), 11-32. Gartner, W. B. (1989). Some suggestions for research on entrepreneurial traits and characteristics. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 14(1), 27-38. Landström, H. (2004). Pioneers in entrepreneurship research, in Corbetta, G., Huse, M., Ravasi, D. (eds.), Crossroads of Entrepreneurship, Kluwer Academic Publishers Dordretch, 13-32. Mitchell, R., Busenitz, L., Lant, T., McDougall, P., Morse, E., Smith, J.B. (2002). Toward a Theory of Entrepreneurial Cognition: Rethinking the People Side of Entrepreneurship Research, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 27(2), 93-104. Shane, S., Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review 25(1), 217-226.


Subject Coverage

Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • The role of human agency and experience in entrepreneurial processes
  • Novel concepts and practices in the research on entrepreneurial behaviour
  • Different facets of the entrepreneurial process; its phases, dynamics and outcomes from the entrepreneur and agency perspectives
  • New perspectives on entrepreneurial thinking and decision making processes: how entrepreneurs’ decisions and judgments influence the creation and the life of entrepreneurial ventures
  • Action-bound theory perspective on entrepreneurship – human discovery and creation as the foundation of understanding entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship as embedded in specific European cultures and contexts – the relevance and value of entrepreneurs in contemporary society and economy
  • New methods in entrepreneurship research enabling us to grasp entrepreneurship as human enactment
  • Epistemological and theoretical foundations of entrepreneurship education


Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.


Important Dates

Manuscripts due by: 31 December, 2018

Notification to authors: 28 February, 2019

Final versions due by: 30 September, 2019