The policy impact of entrepreneurship research: challenging received wisdom

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Background: Studies of the policy impact of entrepreneurship research are largely based on linear, instrumental conceptions of impact and have tended to ignore the complex, political and relational nature of the research-policy nexus, resulting in misrepresentation and understatement of the policy impact of this relatively recent field of research.Methods: Review of relevant literature and policy documents.Aims and objectives: We reassess the relationship between entrepreneurship research and selected policies in the UK since the early1980s and we identify the potential for research to influence policy, drawing on the extensive and growing policy impact literature that has not to date focused on the entrepreneurship domain.Findings: The impact of research on policy occurs through complex mechanisms operating in multiple spatial, temporal and other contexts. The primary contribution of this paper is to highlight the potential significance for this policy field of conceptual and enlightenment impacts over the long term. Significantly, we suggest that some research that was not explicitly driven by policy concerns - and which challenged existing orthodoxy - had some influence on UK entrepreneurship policy developments over the 1980-2020 period.Discussion and conclusions: We call for focused research to improve our understanding of the entrepreneurship research-policy nexus in different contexts and we advocate for the development of ecosystems that enable stakeholders to address the creative tension between 'rigour' and 'relevance' in business and policy research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299–314
JournalEvidence & Policy
Issue number2
Early online date26 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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