You may have noticed that we have a new name for our division, with the addition of “entrepreneurship.” You may be wondering, other than a word of French origin, what is “entrepreneurship” and what does that mean for expanding the scope of the research in our division?
As the new research chair for the division, I wanted to offer some perspective on what the addition of entrepreneurship can mean.
For starters, what is entrepreneurship and what do entrepreneurs do? Entrepreneurship has long been linked to innovation. Management scholar Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “entrepreneurs innovate.” Dating back to Schumpeter, one of the fundamental theories of entrepreneurship is that it causes innovation.
A seminal definition of entrepreneurship, from business literature, is that it is an “activity that involves the discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities to introduce new goods and services, ways of organizing, markets, processes, and raw materials through organizing efforts that previously had not existed.” (Shane & Venkarataman, 2000).
One of the first definitions of media entrepreneurship is “the creation and ownership of a small enterprise or organization whose activity adds at least one voice or innovation to the media marketplace. The individual media entrepreneur or small partner entrepreneur groups are the central characters in that organization’s formation, whether the innovator(s) and/or the owner(s)” (Hoag & Seo, 2005).
In San Francisco, we held a panel session about the challenges and opportunities for media entrepreneurship research moving forward. One of the areas discussed was that, as Hess has argued in the International Journal on Media Management, our understanding of what constitutes “media” is changing and as such a new conceptual definition of “media entrepreneurship” may be in order.
Barring scholarly, peer-reviewed agreement on a new operational definition, typology or working framework to date, I humbly offer some lines of research that would be appropriate within the entrepreneurial framework of our newly named, expanded division. Of course, a formal paper call will come in the coming weeks and months, but in the meantime here are some areas media entrepreneurship research can encompass:
Media startups: People, process, stages of development, funding (venture capital or otherwise), strategies, business models, failed ventures/failure, serial entrepreneurs.
Intrapraneurship: Entrepreneurial activity taking place within an established company, whether in the form of a spinoff company or new product and division.
Incubators, accelerators, cooperative working spaces: Related to intrapraneurship, many media companies have launched efforts to help foster outside startups through an accelerator and incubator. Others are providing cooperative working spaces for startups. This is an understudied line within media entrepreneurship.
Crowdfunding: Many entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding as means to either raise money for a venture, or to gauge consumer demand or get publicity for a product. In the United States, most crowdfunding efforts have focused on donations-based crowdfunding but with the JOBS Act, equity-based crowdfunding will be enabled (and already exists in some European countries).
Entrepreneurial Education: A handful of studies have examined media entrepreneurship education in the U.S. and abroad. Research on the state of entrepreneurial education is welcome, examining things like courses on media entrepreneurship, program efforts like competitions and academy-industry partnerships.
Other divisional lens: Other divisions and perspectives can shed light onto and broaden our division’s focus on entrepreneurship. For example, there are public relations and advertising related research questions applicable to entrepreneurship, as well as legal and policy ones, not to mention civic engagement and civic/social purpose driven entrepreneurship, and so-called “entrepreneurial journalism”/news-based research.
The possibilities are abundant! Of course, we still welcome and encourage research in our traditional areas of media management and economics as well. I look forward to receiving your submissions next spring!
Geoffrey Graybeal, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of media management and entrepreneurship in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University.