Dr David Higgins, University of Liverpool
Prof Pauric McGowan, Ulster University
The growing importance of “lived experiences” in entrepreneurship studies have pose several questions and challenges for scholars in the field, requiring the research community as a whole to seek out new methods of engaging and addressing the role of lived experiences through the formulation of more applied methods of inquiry into practitioner and researcher learning. We position entrepreneurship in an ontological position of “becoming” rather than simply “being”, a way of transcending how we view and appreciate the relationality of the entrepreneur’s patterns of interacting and enactment.
The nature of the track seeks to explore our understanding and gain insights into the experiences of the practitioner/scholar within the context of entrepreneurship and small to medium sized enterprise, (SME). In recent years learning, inquiry and engaged scholarship have become one of the most important topics within the entrepreneurial and small firm community. Understanding how and what entrepreneurs /scholars learn are pertinent issues in how we begin to make sense not only of what entrepreneurs do but the specific processes of learning that occur in this context. The focus on learning brings with it questions surrounding the nature of learning, how learning is conceptualised, and the methods we use to inquiry into human practice. Through this track, we seek to advance both practical and theoretical knowledge, reflecting on the interface between practice and theory, drawing focus towards the social dimensions of learning and inquiry, critical experiences, and enacted practice – as a means of cultivating innovating ways of thinking and new modes of conceptualising, and to enhance and develop approaches to learning. The track provides academics, practitioner and researchers alike with the opportunity to explore key issues surrounding the development and support of learning and development which can help to move forward education / training policy debates and offer lessons for the scholarly/practitioner community.
The increasing emphasis on academics evidencing, in meaningful and purposeful way, the (measurable) value and contribution of their work to public and private domains, requires the development of a new set of values for academic work where engagement is now considered to be the singular method of impact articulation and the means by which applied knowledge is mobilised. The track strives to explore the experience of entrepreneurial/SME learning in different contexts. For example, topics include, but are not limited to:
• Researching entrepreneurship: methods and methodologies
• Coaching and Mentoring – (Entrepreneurial/SME education and training)
• Entrepreneurial / Owner/Manager – Sense Making
• Entrepreneurial networking and networks – learning and entrepreneurial clusters or communities
• Enhancing and stimulating learning experiences
• Reflection, critical thinking and reflexivity as a means of exploring entrepreneurial learning
• Entrepreneurial or SME unlearn
• Learning though/from experience (successes and failures)
• Entrepreneurial decision-making process
• Learning through Research Methodologies
• Developing entrepreneurial skills, dynamic capability and absorptive capacity
• Context and internal / external environments
• Action / Critical Action Learning approaches to training and education
• Policy and Practice
• Innovation and creativity in entrepreneurial process
The track seeks to inspire participants to think critically and reflexively about entrepreneurial learning/inquiry and engagement as a means of aiding and developing collective awareness of what is informative to the advancement of the field. This track seeks high-quality papers, both conceptual and empirically-based (regional, national or international context), that will contribute significantly to our knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurial/SME business practice and its potential to have a significant impact on future economic development.