Understanding the use of digital technologies in entrepreneurial start-up settings and growth –oriented firms
Entrepreneurship contributes to the national and world economy in areas of employment, finance and economic growth and has received a lot of attention among academics, practitioners and policy makers (Janson and Wrycza, 1999; Rosenbaum and Cronin, 1993; Nambisan et al., 2019; Olanrewaju et al., 2020). The “entrepreneurship ecosystem” has become the principal symbol for leveraging an economic development strategy capable of nurturing entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship ecosystems consist of interconnected elements that facilitate innovation and growth of entrepreneurship (Fetters et al., 2010; Kantis and Federico, 2012). Entrepreneurship ecosystem aims to include an encouraging environment through availability of financing, the acquisition and development of human capital, new markets for products and services and various governmental and infrastructural supports (Isenberg, 2011). Part of the entrepreneurial ecosystems is the development of programs, policies and initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and grow entrepreneurial activity across regions (Isenberg, 2014). In modern entrepreneurial ecosystems, a crucial role digitalisation which shapes value creation, delivery and capture in the economy and society (Von Briel et al., 2018 a,b; Nambisan et al., 2017; Nambisan et al., 2019; Yoo et al., 2010).
More specifically, the use of internet and ICT technologies enhance entrepreneurial activities as they provide access to the digital enterprise platform (Accenture, 2014; LeBlanc, 2015; Schmidt, 2011). Globally, digital technologies enhance entrepreneurial opportunity exploitation (Castells, 2010; Hu et al., 2016; Hull et al., 2007; Mole and Mole, 2010). Digital entrepreneurship has been defined as ‘the pursuit of opportunities based on the use of digital media and other information and communication technologies’ (Davidson and Vaast, 2010: 2). Digital entrepreneurship embraces all new ventures and the transformation of existing businesses that drive economic and/or social value by creating and using novel digital technologies (Fang et al., 2018; Nambisan, 2017). Digital enterprises are characterized by a high intensity of utilization of novel digital technologies (particularly social, big data, mobile and cloud solutions) to improve business operations, invent new business models, sharpen business intelligence, and engage with customers and stakeholders. They create the jobs and growth opportunities of the future (Huang et al., 2017; Nambisan et al., 2017; European Commission, 20015).
Technologies such as social media, open-source software and hardware, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, e-trust and online reputation assessment, 3Dprinting, digital imaging, and big data are empowering would-be entrepreneurs to reduce the barriers between idea of venture formation and the actual creation phase (Steininger 2019; Olanrewaju et al., 2020). The use of digital tools and platforms is favoring the emergence of new type of jobs that is hard to classify unambiguously in the traditional categories of employment, self-employment, freelance, or growth-oriented entrepreneurial undertakings. In the same vein, Steininger (2019) highlights that information and communication technology (ICT) plays four major roles in digital entrepreneurial operations: as a facilitator, making the operations of start-ups easier; as a mediator for new ventures’ operations; as an outcome of entrepreneurial operations; and as an ubiquitous enabler of new digital business models. However, the analysis of DE cannot be reduced to the addition of ICT or to traditional entrepreneurship.
However, there is skepticism regarding the success of ICT-led initiatives has also been voiced in academic literature (Kuriyan et al.2008; Parmar et al., 2007; Marsical, 2005; Fors and Moreno, 2002), and hence the assessments of the impact of ICT intervention on entrepreneurial and business development remain inconclusive, indicating the need for further studies (Berger et al., 2019; Thapa and Sæbø, 2014; Rashid and Elder, 2009; Donner, 2006). If technology is to contribute to development, it has to be integrated into the social and professional lives of the target users. The uptake of technology does not in itself guarantee continued use and positive impacts. Many of the technology adoption models, such as the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM: Davis, 1989; Venkatesh and Bala, 2008), the Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT: Rogers, 1995), the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB: Ajzen, 1991), and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT: Venkatesh et al., 2003) are based on organizational use of technology and have limited applications in assessing technology adoption by entrepreneurs who have varied needs, expertise, knowledge and experience. The extent of scholarly works on ICT use by entrepreneurs across various industries in is also sparse. Therefore, there is a need to shift away from or update these frameworks and theories (e.g. Meta-UTAUT by Dwivendi et al., 2019) in order to explain the dynamics of technology use and the iterative nature of the interaction between human agents and technological applications. Longitudinal, qualitative, and more in-depth enquiries are hence needed, supported by theories such as Structuration Theory (Giddens, 1986; Jones and Karsten, 2008), and sociomateriality (Orlikowski and Scott, 2008; Cecez -Kecmanoviz et al., 2014) amongst others.
As duality of technology and interpretive flexibility of technology suggest human capability, social practice and technological applications can have iterative interactions leading to reciprocal influence (Autio et al., 2018; Orlikowski, 1992; Orlikowski, 2001; Dey et al. 2011). Hence, entrepreneurs’ interaction of the proposed digital technologies will enable us to assess what problems they encounter while dealing with technology in a given socio-cultural contexts, how they overcome those problems, what benefits they can achieve, and how and to what extent such interactions can enhance their capacity for entrepreneurial activities. More specifically, it will be key to assess how digital platforms mediated services foster their entrepreneurial skills and competencies (Berger et al., 2019; Srinivasan and Venkatraman, 2018). This will contribute to the current understanding of technology use by entrepreneurs and impact of digital technologies on business growth in developed and in developing region context and beyond.
For this special issue we invite conceptual and empirical papers that help illuminate the use of digital technologies in entrepreneurial start-up settings as well as in growth –oriented firms. We are particularly interested in novel methodologies, and conceptualisations of digital entrepreneurship; studies that explore entrepreneurship in age of technology and globalisation in new contexts (i.e. by geography, industry or sector, culturally or within different institutional settings).
Potential topics and research questions can include but are not limited to:
How should digital entrepreneurship be better conceptualised so as to better understand the growth dimensions of venture creation?
On global megatrends (e.g. digitalisation) how can we measure and monitor the impacts of new technologies on entrepreneurial success? How can we identify persistent under-adoption of technologies?
How digital technologies transform and or mediate entrepreneurial outcomes and processes?
How digital technology unfolds in digital platforms and multi-sided markets?
How digital information helps us to understand the process of consumption and capture value from users?
Which digital skills and knowledge entrepreneurs need the global and digital economy?
Manuscript submission deadline: 15-Jan-2021
Notification of Review: 30-May-2021
Revision due: 31-Jul-2021
Notification of 2nd Review: 15-Oct-2021
2nd Revision [if needed] due: 1-Dec-2021
Notification of Final Acceptance: 20-Dec-2021
All submissions have to be prepared according to the Guide for Authors as published in the Journal website at: https://www.elsevier.com/journals/international-journal-of-information-management/0268-4012/guide-for-authors
Authors should select “SI: digital entrepreneurship”, from the “Choose Article Type” pull- down menu during the submission process. All contributions must not have been previously published or be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Link for submission of manuscript is: https://www.evise.com/evise/jrnl/IJIM
A submission based on one or more papers that appeared elsewhere has to comprise major value-added extensions over what appeared previously (at least 50% new material). Authors are requested to attach to the submitted paper their relevant, previously published articles and a summary document explaining the enhancements made in the journal version.
All submitted papers will undergo a rigorous peer-review process that will consider programmatic relevance, scientific quality, significance, originality, style and clarity.
The acceptance process will focus on papers that address original contributions in the form of theoretical, empirical and case research, which lead to new perspectives. Papers must be grounded on the body of scholarly works in this area (exemplified by some of the references below) but yet discover new frontiers so that collectively, the Special Section will serve communities of researchers and practitioners as an archival repository of the state of the art in data-driven innovation.
Kent Business School (Medway Campus), University of Kent, UK
School of Business and Economics
Kent Business School (Medway Campus), University of Kent, UK
M. N. Ravishankar
School of Business and Economics
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