Reflections from Public Sector Entrepreneurship track chair,
Professor Joyce Liddle
Public Sector Entrepreneurship: New approaches and perspectives on research, policy & practice
Taking a lead from the overall conference theme of Borders: prosperity and entrepreneurial responses, this Public Sector Entrepreneurship track was the first of its kind at ISBE.
As public leaders now increasingly work entrepreneurially with other non-profit, voluntary/third sector, charitable and faith-based agencies to deliver services, it was important to start a series of conversations between multi-disciplinary researchers in this field.
Actors across organisational, sectoral and spatial boundaries are responding to a multitude of internal and external environmental forces, so capturing some on-going research was useful in enhancing good knowledge exchange between multiple disciplines. The overall aim was to move the study of entrepreneurship in the public interest from the periphery of entrepreneurship scholarship to the core. As a relatively under–studied area of entrepreneurship, it was encouraging to see some high quality empirical and theoretical papers presented in this session; so the aim was achieved. As an evolving research community, the papers engendered some lively and interesting discussions and debates, with many presenters and other attendees making vital connections for future cross-national research.
The first paper, on entrepreneurial safeguarding and innovation in public services, was delivered by PhD student Alex James on behalf of other co-authors. It was a highly competent delivery, despite this being her first ever conference presentation. Not only did she deliver the paper very well, but the discussion and debate to follow was really stimulating. I must congratulate the co- authors of this first paper, as it was chosen as the best paper of the track.
Jan Myers, one of the co-authors of the first paper, then presented a sole authored paper which was very thought-provoking indeed. Again, this facilitated a good level discussion. It led seamlessly into the third paper about entrepreneurship in the New Zealand public health sector. Shane Scahill and Lorraine Warren neatly demonstrated how scholars from entrepreneurship research and health care research can work effectively together, by drawing on different literatures, and synergising across academic boundaries.
The final paper, authored by the Track Chair and co-author John Shutt was a theoretical contribution with the objective of developing a typology on public entrepreneurship. A final discussion session on this paper and the earlier presentations, formed a sound basis for future ISBE conferences on this theme, and all participants look forward to meeting up, and encouraging other conversations in Birmingham, 2018.