1. Presentation of the PhD project

Over the past 30 years, the number of incubators has increased significantly worldwide (Bruneel et al., 2012). This popularization can give the impression that there is a standard incubation model supporting entrepreneurs either to protect them and help them grow or to facilitate their integration into a relevant ecosystem given their “liability of newness” However, there is a variety of incubators with diverse performances. This has led authors to describe incubation as a “black box” (Hackett and Dilts, 2004).
However, several studies have been conducted on the key factors for incubator success (Messeghem et al., 2018; Hackett and Dilts, 2008). They have highlighted the quality of support and the services offered as key factors, while other researches consider that it’s the selection strategy (with “hard” rather than “soft” indicators) that can improve incubator performance.
Both lines of research are open to criticism. First, they promote a model of a high-performance “super incubator” that attracts the best projects because of the perceived quality and reputation of their services. As a result, their performance will be superior because they select only the best projects on the market.
Secondly, they are very focused on the incubation process starting with the identification of the project, its selection and its support. However, the performance of the incubation cannot be understood independently of its environment.
To have quality incubatees, it also means having access to a sufficiently interesting pool of creative projects to be able to select them. How is this project pool set up? What about its quality and variety?
Surprisingly, little academic work has been done on this pre-incubation phase, which we call “entrepreneurial sourcing”. In other words, this phase of support for nascent entrepreneurship aimed at structuring and developing a business project. In the field, there is a real demand to fill this pre-incubation gap with national programs such as PEPITES, events such as START-UP WEEK-ENDs and programs to raise awareness or introduce students to entrepreneurship.
Our hypothesis is that the incubators’ interface with this pre-incubation ecosystem is a key element of their performance. Although projects may come from different locations, incubators are located in a region or city. In fact, there is an essential territorial dimension to understanding the performance of incubators (Audretsch and Belitski, 2017). At different stages of the development of their project, potential entrepreneurs locate themselves in different places depending on the perceived attractiveness of these territories and the potential to promote the emulation and progress of their project. Indeed, an ecosystem approach to pre-incubation is relevant to better understand the different actors and their coopetition strategies at this key stage (Theodoraki, 2017).

2. Research field and partners
Occitania Regional Ecosystem (Occitania-Ad’OCC Region, NUBBO Regional Incubator). Comparative studies between Montpellier and Toulouse will be considered to study the specificities of two ecosystems. Other research areas may also be explored (PEPITE, TBSeeds, etc.).

3. Required skills
Good written and spoken English and French (B2 minimum).
Interest in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial support.
Good knowledge of qualitative and/or quantitative techniques or able to be trained.

4. Funding and duration
The salary will correspond to the French standards for a PhD. This is a full-time employment of fixed term from September 2019, for 3 years.

5. Supervision
PhD supervisor (HDR): E. Michael Laviolette is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Toulouse Business School.
PhD co-supervisor: Christina Theodoraki is Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Toulouse Business School.

7. Contact
– For more information, you can contact us by phone: or by email:
o E. Michael Laviolette,
o Christina Theodoraki,

8. To apply
Send your file in English by email before May 28, 2019 (; including:
– A detailed curriculum vitae
– A letter of motivation
– Copies of diplomas and transcripts since the first year of higher education
– Thesis proposal (3-6 pages):
o How does the candidate plan to develop the research topic?
o What methods to be used to process it?
o What are the expected contributions?



Call for Papers – 4th Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Conference and PhD Symposium – 3-5 April 2019 – Audencia Business School, Nantes, France

Call for Papers – 4th Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice

Conference and PhD Symposium – 3-5 April 2019

Audencia Business School, Nantes, France


About the Conference

 The 4th version of this conference aims to advance understanding of entrepreneurship-as-practice, foster network ties, facilitate collaborative writing relationships, and build a strong community of practice scholars. To do so, we have developed a Research Conference and PhD Symposium that educates interested scholars as well as develops empirical and conceptual papers regarding the ‘practice turn’ taking place in entrepreneurship studies.

Building on the first (February 2016 at VU Amsterdam), second (February 2017 at University College Dublin Quinn School of Business) and third (April 2018 at Linnaeus University) Entrepreneurship as Practice conferences, this conference and PhD symposium bring together the growing community of researchers who embrace the “practice turn”. Initiated by such calls as Steyaert (2007) and Johannisson (2011), the entrepreneurship-as-practice movement is now gaining traction, witnessed by such contributions as De Clercq & Voronov (2009), Tatli et al. (2014), Goss et al. (2011), Keating et al. (2013), Chalmers and Shaw (2017), Dimov (2018) and Matthews et al. (2018).

Practice theorists of entrepreneurship studies share a number of common assumptions. First, instead of thoughts and ideas hidden inside individual entrepreneurial minds, the central focus of inquiry are the spontaneously expressed, living, responsive, relational practices occurring out in the world between us for all to see. Second, practices are seen as the relevant unit of analysis for the exploration of entrepreneurial phenomena. Although there is no one definition of practice possible, they are fundamentally collaborative and relational activities, not solely reducible to the agents who carry them out. As they are defined by Schatzki, practices are organized by the enactment of sequential bodily activities, mediated by ‘things’ and their use, and drawing upon practical knowledge. Practices bring together actors, activities and contexts, thus interrelating social structures and human agency (Dodd et al., 2016; Hill, 2018; Tatli et al., 2014). Consequently, EaP research aims to observe, theorize and unfold the practices―as ways of doing and saying things―carried out by practitioners (entrepreneurs and their partners).

Drawing on these shared assumptions, recent scholarship has advanced entrepreneurship research in several ways. First, entrepreneurship as practice continues to move away from understanding ‘who’ an entrepreneur is towards the importance of collaborative activity, performance, and work in the creation and perpetuation of entrepreneuring (Gartner et al., 2016; Keating et al., 2013; Matthews et al., 2018). Second, theories of practice help us understand the critical role of the body, practical know-how and material objects in organizing entrepreneurship. Third, theories of practice help us perceive and better understand the reproduction and transformation of practices and practical knowledge related to entrepreneurial phenomena across time and space.

However, emphasizing the intricate socially-situated nature of practices comes with considerable ontological, theoretical and methodological implications. These will be addressed during the Conference and PhD Symposium.

For background and information on EaP literature, prior conferences and other pertinent materials, please go to:

Structure of the Conference and PhD Symposium

The Conference will be held over three full days: Registration & welcoming will take place on April 2nd late afternoon. April 3rd will focus on theoretical issues, April 4th on methodological issues and April 5th on a paper development workshop. The conference will include keynote lectures and workshops, a panel session on publishing entrepreneurship as practice research and a working paper development session.

Participating scholars are welcome to choose one or more days of the conference when registering.

PhD candidates who want ECTS credits for their participation are required to attend all three days of the conference, as well as generate additional work beyond what is required by other participants in the conference.

We welcome papers addressing theories of practice and creative organizing from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. Entrepreneurship, management, strategy, social sciences, humanities studies are all welcomed.

Potential although not exclusive topics that may be addressed include:

Theoretical challenges:

  • What are the differences between the individualism, structuralism and practice traditions of entrepreneurship research and how can they be combined?
  • How is the process approach to entrepreneurship (entrepreneuring) similar and different from practice approach?
  • How can we carve out insights and theories without the traditional aim of reification and generalization, given practice theories’ phenomenological roots?
  • How can we theoretically cope with the enormous diversity of practices in which entrepreneurship is implicated?
  • How can entrepreneurship studies help to theorize the reproduction and transformation of practical knowledge?
  • How can we incorporate embodiment and sociomateriality into our understanding of practices related to entrepreneurship?
  • How can an EaP perspective rejuvenate our thinking about traditional entrepreneurship related topics of innovating, creating opportunities, networking, venturing, strategizing, financing and organizing?
  • What is the value of existing theoretical frameworks of practice for entrepreneurship research, and when should we employ or go beyond them?
  • How can EaP be used as a platform for critical studies of entrepreneurship?


Methodological and Empirical Challenges:

  • How does one begin an EaP study, such as selecting and entering a site for observation?
  • As theories of practice guide us to study the real-time and unique instances of practices related to entrepreneurship, how can we observe, analyze and theorize about these unique instances, whilst still accounting for their relations to other practices?
  • What are some common research questions that can be formulated and answered using an EaP perspective, and which practice theory is appropriate for which research questions in entrepreneurship?
  • How can one catalogue and rigorously analyze large amounts of video-based ethnographic data?
  • What can we methodologically learn from the history of the Strategy as Practice (SaP) community?

Abstract / Paper Submission

All scholars who are interested in the paper development workshop and PhD candidates wishing to attend the conference should submit an abstract (of less than 1,000 words) by 3 December 2018 to

Abstracts should not exceed two single-spaced pages, and may not exceed the maximum limit of 1,000 words. They should present the purpose of the research, the relevance of the problem, the literature review, the methods and the main findings. 3 to 5 keywords and an indicative Topic of the Conference should be included. Authors will be notified of acceptance or otherwise by December 15, 2018. Full working papers are due for February 15, 2019.

Full working papers should have the following structure: introduction, literature review or conceptual framework, methodology, results, discussion and conclusion. The text should be 10-15 pages, characters Times New Roman 12, single spacing. Abstracts and papers should be written and presented in English.

All working papers will be assigned to discussion groups.  Each group member will be responsible for providing feedback on the papers received during the working paper session on April 5.

Important Dates


Abstract Submission Deadline

PhD Symposium and Research Conference

December 3rd, 2018
Notification of Acceptance

PhD Symposium and Research Conference

December 15th, 2018
Full Paper Submission DeadlineFebruary 15th, 2019
Registration DeadlineMarch 1st, 2019
Conference DateApril 3-5th, 2019


Conference Fees:

Fees for PhD Symposium and Research Conference attendees are to be determined and posted by October 1, 2018.

Organizing Committee (extract)

Claire Champenois (Audencia Business School), Miruna Radu-Lefebvre (Audencia Business School)
William B. Gartner (Babson College and Linnaeus University), Bruce Teague (Eastern University Washington), Neil Thompson (VU University Amsterdam), Ola Byrne (UCD Dublin)

Audencia Business School & Nantes

EAP4 will be held at Audencia Business School, Nantes, France on April 2-5 2019. Founded in 1900, Audencia Business School is one of France’s elite Grande Ecole higher education institutions – ranked 6th in the nation (SIGEM). World renowned for education and research in business and management, it ranks among the top 100 worldwide (The Economist). Among the 90 tenured faculty members, seven focus on Entrepreneurship.

Nantes is a modern innovative and green city with old-world flair city. It is two hours from Paris (by train), one hour from London (by plane), and 45 minutes from the Atlantic Coast (by car or train).

For Further Information and Questions Please contact


Chalmers, D. M., & Shaw, E. (2017). The endogenous construction of entrepreneurial contexts: A practice-based !perspective. International Small Business Journal, September(1967), 19–39.

De Clercq, D., & Voronov, M. (2009). Toward a Practice Perspective of Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurial Legitimacy as Habitus. International Small Business Journal, 27(4), 395–419.

Dimov, D. (2018). Opportunities, language and time. Academy of Management Perspectives, in press.

Dodd, S. D., Pret, T., & Shaw, E. (2016). Advancing understanding of entrepreneurial embeddedness : forms of capital , social contexts and time. In F. Welter & W. B. Gartner (Eds.), A research agenda for entrepreneurship and context (pp. 120–133). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Pub.

Gartner, W. B., Stam, E., Thompson, N. A., & Verduyn, K. (2016). Entrepreneurship as practice: grounding contemporary practice theory into entrepreneurship studies. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 28(9–10), 813–816.

Goss, D., Jones, R., Latham, J., & Betta, M. (2011). Power as practice: A Micro-sociological Analysis of the Dynamics of Emancipatory Entrepreneurship. Organization Studies, 32(2), 211–229.

Hill, I. (2018). How did you get up and running? Taking a Bourdieuan perspective towards a framework for negotiating strategic fit. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 1–35.

Johannisson, B. (2011). Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring. Small Business Economics, 36(2), 135–150.

Keating, A., Geiger, S., & Mcloughlin, D. (2013). Riding the Practice Waves: Social Resourcing Practices During New Venture Development. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 38(5), 1–29.

Matthews, R. S., Chalmers, D. M., & Fraser, S. S. (2018). The intersection of entrepreneurship and selling: An interdisciplinary review, framework, and future research agenda. Journal of Business Venturing, (June 2016), 1–0.

Steyaert, C. (2007). ‘Entrepreneuring’ as a conceptual attractor? A review of process theories in 20 years of entrepreneurship studies. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19(6), 453–477.

Tatli, A., Vassilopoulou, J., Özbilgin, M., Forson, C., & Slutskaya, N. (2014). A Bourdieuan relational perspective for entrepreneurship research. Journal of Small Business Management, 52(4), 615–632.