To what extent is entrepreneurship considered a legitimate field of academic research – especially by ‘elite’ universities? Clearly, this question is relevant for entrepreneurship scholars, especially those in the early stages of a research-oriented career. Of course, one has to define what ‘legitimate’ and ‘elite’ mean in this context – a task taken up in this US+UK focused paper about entrepreneurship journals:

Stewart, A. Who shuns entrepreneurship journals? Why? And what should we do about it? Small Bus Econ (2021).

In brief, popular media rankings were used to identify ‘elite’ universities. Influential rankings such as Financial Times 50 (FT50) were used to identify ‘prestigious’ entrepreneurship journals such as:

  • ET&P ~ Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice
  • JBV ~ Journal of Business Venturing
  • SEJ ~ Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
  • ISBJ ~ International Small Business Journal
  • JSBM ~ Journal of Small Business Management
  • SBE ~ Small Business Economics

The key finding? The most elite business schools in the USA, but not the UK, are found to allocate significantly more publications to mathematically sophisticated “analytical” fields such as economics and finance, rather than entrepreneurship and other “managerial” fields. While that may sound discouraging for a fledgling entrepreneurship scholar or a recently minted PhD, this is some solace in the following observations:

  • ‘Quartile elite’ schools such as Indiana actively publish in elite entrepreneurship journals, e.g., ET&P and JBV
  • Journals such as Small Business Economics Journal (SBEJ) can help the field’s legitimacy via mathematically sophisticated, analytical publications.

Elite Entrepreneurship Journals

The author also points out the case of MIT and Stanford “that have well-known teaching programs but little interest in the entrepreneurship field journals”. In this case, the entrepreneurship teaching programs tend to involve world-class practitioners.

As for recommendations to improve the legitimacy of entrepreneurship research, the author notes that the fields of strategic management and family business have benefited by imitating the analytical paradigms of economics and finance. Moreover, influencers such as academic deans or journal editors can spur collaborative studies among practice-savvy instructors and entrepreneurship researchers to help the field gain prominence amongst the elite universities.