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August 2024



Academy of Management Conference PDW - Digital Technologies as Catalysts for Entrepreneurial Activities:

This PDW explores the usefulness of the EE framework to stimulate multidisciplinary research on digital technologies and entrepreneurial processes and outcomes. To accomplish these objectives, this PDW includes two group activities and a panel discussion.

Academy of Management Conference PDW - Digital Technologies as Catalysts for Entrepreneurial Activities:
Academy of Management Conference PDW - Digital Technologies as Catalysts for Entrepreneurial Activities:

Time & Location

August 2024

Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

About the event

Digital Technologies as Catalysts for Entrepreneurial Activities: Exploring External Enablers in Entrepreneurship and Information Systems

Primary Sponsor: ENT; Other Potential Sponsors: CTO, TIM


There is a growing interest to understand better how digital technologies enable entrepreneurial activities (Nambisan, 2017). The literature points to digital technologies making entrepreneurial processes and outcomes less bounded, compressing, conserving, or otherwise impacting resource requirements in venture creation, or providing other entrepreneurially beneficial affordances when being at the core of a new venture idea. However, these studies often exist in theoretical silos, with information systems and entrepreneurship literature approaching digital technologies from distinct, and often disconnected angles. The theoretical perspective of ‘external enablement’ (EE), which views digital technologies as actor-independent factors that foster entrepreneurial activities (Davidsson, 2015; Davidsson  et al., 2020; von Briel et al., 2018), offers a promising avenue to bridge these divides. Hence, focusing on digital technologies as EE, this PDW aims to foster a more integrated perspective on how digital technologies catalyze entrepreneurship. In particular, this PDW explores the usefulness of the EE framework to stimulate multidisciplinary research on digital technologies and entrepreneurial processes and outcomes. To accomplish these objectives, this PDW includes two group activities and a panel discussion. While the first part of the PDW engages participants in exploring the EE construct and framework for studying digital technologies, the second part mixes up participants in multidisciplinary groups and encourages them to apply the EE framework in generating empirical research questions related to given EEs (e.g., AI, blockchain). Lastly, a multidisciplinary panel discussion will be facilitated, triggering research at the intersection of information systems and entrepreneurship in connection to EE.


The frequent and high impact of digital technologies in entrepreneurship strongly demands our collective force to drive systematic knowledge across disciplines. By disequilibrating the business environment, digital technologies as EE provide essential ‘raw material’ for new economic activities (Nambisan, 2017; von Briel et al., 2018). Therefore, the EE construct has received increasing interest in both information systems and entrepreneurship (e.g., Bennett, 2019; Bennett  & Nikolaev, 2020; Cestino Castilla et al., 2023; Chalmers, Mackenzie, et  al., 2021; Chalmers, Matthews, et al., 2021; Chen et al., 2020; Lucas et al.,  2023; Obschonka & Audretsch, 2020; Rothe et al., 2023; Schade &  Schuhmacher, 2022; Wood et al., 2023). Consequently, the relevance of this topic spans across the ENT, CTO, and TIM divisions, making it a compelling subject for sponsorship. First, the proposed PDW holds significant interest for the ENT division. Entrepreneurship research has for a long time shown an interest in emerging digital technologies and many digital innovations emerge as outcomes of entrepreneurial activities. The PDW provides an opportunity for a thorough exploration and discussion of the EE construct with specific regard to its usefulness in theorizing about digital technologies. This aligns well with the ENT division’s interest in evolving frameworks and models in entrepreneurship research. Second, the proposed PDW is particularly relevant to the CTO division due to its emphasis on the role of digital technologies as actor-independent factors that facilitate and shape entrepreneurial activities. This aligns with the CTO division's interest in understanding how technology influences organizational dynamics and business processes.  Third, the nature of digital technologies as reprogrammable and open, fostering continuous evolution and innovation, is a central theme of the workshop. This directly ties to the TIM division's focus on how technological changes drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Finally, the PDW’s emphasis on multidisciplinary research at the intersection of information systems and entrepreneurship, particularly concerning EE, is a compelling interest for all three divisions, which value cross-disciplinary insights into how technology shapes entrepreneurial processes and outcomes.


The PDW has four main parts: 1) an Introduction to the EE construct and framework, 2) a group activity that will engage participants in sharing their knowledge and viewpoints, 3) an idea development session that applies the EE framework to design studies at the intersection of entrepreneurship and information systems, and 4) a multidisciplinary panel discussion.


The main goals of the workshop are to encourage a multidisciplinary dialogue on future directions of  the EE construct and framework and to stimulate the development of empirical research projects on digital technologies as EE. In particular, we aim to enrich the AOM research community in six ways.

1. Expected substantive and networking benefits for participants.  The PDW will be highly interactive, stimulating new, multidisciplinary research collaborations within and across divisions. The participants can continue the conversation through diverse EE community channels (e.g., EE website, social media channels). This can lead to further opportunities around joint publications, and future EE symposia.

2. Plans for creating an interactive and engaging session. We plan to utilize as much time as possible on highly interactive, participant-led group activities as well as panel discussions. All Individuals with varied levels of expertise in the EE framework will be able to partake.

3. The breadth of interest across divisions. The EE framework is cross-level, process-oriented that is comprehensive and flexible to (incorporate) a variety of research interests across the ENT, CTO, and TIM divisions.

4. Novelty. The EE literature is an emerging stream in entrepreneurship, and the PDW focuses on future, multidisciplinary developments.

5. Effective use of program time. We will use 180 minutes including a 10-minute break, and the program will be packed with group activities using digital tools (e.g., Kahoot and Mural), idea development sessions, and networking.

6. Fit with the conference theme. The PDW contributes to the conference theme "Innovating for the Future" in several key ways. First, by focusing on the role of digital technologies as External Enablers (EE) of entrepreneurship, the PDW fosters a unique intersection between entrepreneurship and information systems research. This multidisciplinary approach aligns with the conference's call for innovative insights, especially in understanding how digital technologies can be harnessed for entrepreneurial success and innovation. Second, the PDW is designed to generate new empirical research questions and projects centered on digital technologies such as AI and blockchain. This focus on cutting-edge technology is crucial for understanding and innovating within the rapidly changing business environment. Third, the PDW uniquely addresses the interplay between digital technologies and other types of enablers such as regulatory frameworks. This focus aligns perfectly with the conference theme, which emphasizes the need for innovative policy-making and the utilization of advanced technologies.

The PDW team represents a variety of AoM division memberships, disciplinary origins, and professional backgrounds. The team’s research is well-represented in leading journals in entrepreneurship, management, information systems, and beyond. They have all consented to participate in the PDW and confirmed their acceptance of this PDW proposal.

M. Madeleine Meurer (organizer) is a postdoctoral researcher at Jönköping International Business School and an incoming Assistant Professor in digital social entrepreneurship at Rotterdam School of Management. Her research interests include studying entrepreneurs and new ventures in digital spaces.

Jan Recker (host) is Nucleus Professor for Information Systems and Digital Innovation at the University of Hamburg. His research interests span digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship. He has published in journals highly ranked in CTO, ENT, and TIM.

Dominic Chalmers (host) is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. His research interests span social innovation to platform and digital entrepreneurship. He has published in JBV and ETP amongst other outlets.

Howard Aldrich is an American sociologist, holding positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, with affiliations at Cambridge and Cornell Universities. His research focuses on entrepreneurship, evolutionary theory, and economic sociology.

Per Davidsson is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at QUT (Australia) and JIBS (Sweden). He is one of the most cited scholars in entrepreneurship worldwide and recently received the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research.

Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa is Professor of Information Systems and Bayless/Rauscher Pierce Refsnes Chair in Business Administration at the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on inter-organizational and inter-personal collaboration and innovation in fast-paced, entrepreneurially driven, and technologically advanced data and knowledge environments with regulatory and policy implications.

Jiyoung Kim is a Postdoctoral researcher at Jönköping International Business School. Her research interests include studying external enablers of new venture creation.

Sarfraz Ali Kyani is a Ph.D. candidate at the Queensland University of Technology who focuses in his dissertation on the external enablement of sustainable entrepreneurship.

Satish Nambisan is the Nancy and Joseph Keithley Professor of Technology Management at the Weatherhead School of Management. Nambisan’s research interests lie in the broad areas of innovation management, entrepreneurship, and technology management.

Samira Nazar is an Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship at The Australian National University’s Research School of Management. Her research focuses on entrepreneurship in adverse, fragile, and extreme contexts. Her research also examines the role of digital technologies as an external enabler in these contexts.

Lucia Naldi is a Professor of Business Administration and Vice President for Research at Jönköping International Business School. Her research focuses on the growth and internationalization of small and young firms.

Hannes Rothe is a Professor of information systems and sustainable supply-chain management at University of Duisburg-Essen where he heads the incubator Place Beyond Bytes. His research focuses on the intersections of digital innovation and entrepreneurship, organizing data and knowledge, and digital ecosystems.

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