The responsible research agenda: challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship scholars

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This paper discusses the significance for the entrepreneurship research community of the responsible research agenda, which has become prominent in scholarly and policy discussions, notably in relation to recent developments, including the initial decisions regarding the 2028 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF).
ISBE conference theme – Sustainable Growth in Unexpected Places
A responsible approach to research, building on the diversity of talents across our community and incorporating approaches such as engaged scholarship and co-production, has the potential to enhance the contribution of small business and entrepreneurship to sustainable growth in places that are often outside of the mainstream of business and economic research.
This paper aims to stimulate reflection and debate about these important issues that have significant implications for research careers, research quality, impact and funding in our field. Good practice in areas such as engaged scholarship, impact and diversity is acknowledged. However, small business and entrepreneurship research is not immune from worrying trends such as an inappropriate focus on journal rankings, unhealthy competition and career structures that do not take sufficient account of the rich diversity of our community.
This paper is based on the author’s experience over 30+ years as a researcher, consultant, business and academic leader. It is a reflection and a provocation intended to stimulate debate.
I argue that current research assessment practices are largely antithetical to the creation and nurturing of research environments that reflect the richness, diversity, inclusivity and societal impact that should be central to our efforts. I argue that, as a community, we should seek to adopt, embrace and implement the principles of responsible research assessment (RRA).
Implications for policy
More inclusive and supportive research cultures will enable us to address key societal challenges by ensuring that diverse scholars apply a range of theories and methodologies to tackle ‘wicked problems.’ Engaged scholarship and the dissemination of research insights through a range of routes will be beneficial to achieving impact, as will career structures that recognise diverse contributions, for example from applied researchers and ‘pracademics’.
Implications for practice
Our community needs to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths and explore the leading role that institutions such as ISBE might play in challenging outdated and unhelpful approaches to research assessment and championing diverse, inclusive and responsible research cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2023
EventInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference - Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Nov 202310 Nov 2023

Academic conference

Academic conferenceInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleISBE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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