In the field of entrepreneurship, Darden School of Business Professor Sankaran Venkataraman has consistently broken ground and this week won the prestigious Decade Award from the Academy of Management Review (AMR) at the Academy’s annual meeting in Montreal.
An expert in entrepreneurial opportunity and business strategy, Professor Venkataraman, known as “Venkat,” is the MasterCard Professor of Business Administration at Darden. His award-winning paper, co-authored with Scott Shane of Case Western University and published by AMR in 2000, is titled “The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research.”
AMR is the scholarly journal of the Academy of Management, a leading professional association for scholars dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about management and organizations. The journal’s editorial review board presents the Decade Award to the article published 10 years ago that has the greatest impact on scholarship in terms of citations. The award represents not just entrepreneurship but the entire management academic community.
“I feel both proud and gratified at this recognition,” says Venkat. “I knew the paper had many citations and was quite prominent in the field, but to win the most influential paper of the decade in a leading journal is certainly something I didn't expect.”
“It is fitting that Venkat should be honored with the AMR Decade Award because of the enduring effect his work has had on the many emerging and established scholars who study and research entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking,” says Darden Professor Mike Lenox, Executive Director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The paper provided a new definition for the field of entrepreneurship. “Instead of defining the field through the activities entrepreneurs do, our paper defined the field in broad terms so that it raised many interesting questions that students of entrepreneurship could address,” says Venkat. “I think this was a liberating experience for many young scholars, and it provided a framework that allowed the field of entrepreneurship to talk to other sister disciplines in management and business.”
The paper also drew attention to the nature and scope of entrepreneurial opportunities. “Curiously, previous studies mainly focused on the entrepreneur and the firms that they started,” he says. “Very little was understood about the nature and process of the entrepreneurial opportunities themselves, where they came from, how they were discovered, exploited and the consequence of these processes to value and wealth creation. Our paper put this issue front and center.”
Since joining Darden in 1998, Venkat – who developed a highly successful business venture for an Indian firm before joining the academic world – has encouraged dozens of students and executives to actively contribute to the field of entrepreneurship. He earned Darden’s Outstanding Faculty Award and served for 14 years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Business Venturing, a scholarly journal devoted to entrepreneurship and innovation. He has edited book series at Yale University Press and Edward Elgar Publishing and has served as an adviser to the Entrepreneurial Forum, a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration aimed at promoting trade through entrepreneurship around the world.
His next projects will continue to deepen and refine how we think about entrepreneurial activity and its role in society. “I am very interested in entrepreneurship education, the role of entrepreneurship in regional economic development, and the use of entrepreneurship as a method for solving social problems,” he says.
Founded in 1954, the Darden School of Business is a professional school that improves society by developing leaders in the world of practical affairs.
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