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Department of Business and Economics

Current Topics

Psychological safety in coworking spaces

Coworking spaces are mostly used by self-employed people and start-ups. Despite the mostly sensitive business ideas, which are often not protected against misuse and theft of intellectual property in coworking spaces, coworkers regularly exchange business ideas and best practices. This creates a climate of "coopetition", a fusion of competitive and collaborative dynamics. Coworking spaces also appear to offer a high level of psychological safety for coworkers, as they feel secure when sharing potentially sensitive information.

This master's thesis uses quantitative methods (e.g. a survey) to determine the climate of psychological safety in coworking spaces, the role played by the space and its management, and the effects this climate has on coworkers.

  •     Bouncken, R. B., Laudien, S. M., Fredrich, V., & Görmar, L. (2018). Coopetition in coworking-spaces: value creation and appropriation tensions in an entrepreneurial space. Review of Managerial Science, 12(2), 385-410.
  •     Parrino, L. (2015). Coworking: Assessing the role of proximity in knowledge exchange. Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 13(3), 261-271.



Transformative Artificial Intelligence and Entrepreneurship

Transformative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to bring about profound societal changes, similar to the agricultural or industrial revolutions. These technologies offer significant efficiency gains and transform the way tasks are performed, leading to growing interest in their study. Particularly in entrepreneurship, the question arises of how AI influences the innovation processes and business models of startups.

This thesis aims to write about the impact of transformative AI on the innovative capabilities of startups based on current research on AI and innovation. Key research questions include:

  1. Theorizing "algorithmic entrepreneurship"
  2. Can AI create resource abundance, thereby overcoming the typical resource scarcity in entrepreneurship and challenging leading startup methods (e.g., effectuation/bricolage, bootstrapping, lean startup)?
  3. Do classic research findings and theories (e.g., on the role of knowledge and human and social capital in entrepreneurship) still hold in the new AI era?
  4. How can AI impact entrepreneurial finance (e.g., AI-powered financial planning for entrepreneurs, management and decisions of VC investment portfolios) and resource acquisition (e.g., preparation of entrepreneurs' pitches, investors' due diligence)?
  5. Does AI change the age curve associated with entrepreneurship (does it replace the advantage of industry experience, and do we therefore see an AI-empowered rise of young entrepreneurs)?
  6. How can AI contribute to equality and diversity (e.g., neurodiversity, closing the gender gap)?
  7. How can AI support entrepreneurs' cognition, decision-making, and psychological well-being?
  • Berente, N., Gu, B., Recker, J., & Santhanam, R. (2021). Managing artificial intelligence. MIS Quarterly, 45(3), 1433-1450. DOI: 10.25300/MISQ/2021/16274
  • Lévesque, M., Obschonka, M., & Nambisan, S. (2022). Pursuing impactful entrepreneurship research using artificial intelligence. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 46(4), 803-832.
  • Obschonka, M., & Audretsch, D. B. (2020). Artificial intelligence and big data in entrepreneurship: a new era has begun. Small Business Economics, 55, 529-539.



Venturing Into the Future: The Impact of Corporate Venture Capital

In today's corporate landscape, the importance and influence of corporate venture capital (CVC) has increased dramatically. CVC, equity investments by established companies in privately held companies, is a fundamental aspect of entrepreneurial finance. Seven of the top ten companies in the world by revenue are engaged in significant CVC, including Google, Intel, and Salesforce. Your master's thesis will explore CVC's strategies, mechanisms, and impact on innovation, economic growth, and corporate success. In general, your thesis can follow five main themes. (1) corporate antecedents, i.e., the factors that lead incumbent firms to make CVC investments; (2) corporate consequences, i.e., the impact of CVC investments on the parent firm; (3) organization and governance of the CVC entity; (4) start-up antecedents, i.e., the factors that lead start-ups to seek CVC support; and (5) start-up consequences, i.e., the impact of CVC support on start-up performance.

To ensure a good thesis start, you will receive a current literature review to discuss important literature in the field and identify a potential research gap. In addition, you will be working with existing data but will need to collect additional data based on the research gap you place.

  • Basu, S., Phelps, C. & Kotha, S. (2011). Towards Understanding Who Makes Corporate Venture Capital Investments and Why. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(2),  153–171.
  • Dushnitsky, G. & Lenox, M. J. (2005). When Do Firms undertake R&D by Investing in New Ventures? Strategic Management Journal, 26(10), 947–965.



The Evolution of Conceptual Contributions in Entrepreneurship Research

In this thesis, the development of conceptual contributions in entrepreneurship research is explored. The focus is on how theories in the field of entrepreneurship have evolved over time. By documenting the research topics in this area over the years, a foundation is established to understand what is considered a valuable contribution in this field.

This work tracks and highlights the temporal development in the science of entrepreneurship. It illustrates how conceptual thinking has enabled researchers to create new knowledge. This is particularly facilitated by the use of computer-aided text analysis methods, such as LIWC.

The following core topics are addressed in the thesis:

  1. The integration of the framework by MacInnis (2011) in entrepreneurship research: Investigating the extent to which conceptualizations have been incorporated into entrepreneurship research.
  2. Changes in theoretical approaches: Analysis of shifts in theoretical frameworks and approaches within entrepreneurship research over time. Additionally, it aims to identify which unique theories have emerged from entrepreneurship research and which theories have been borrowed.
  3. Methodological trends: Assessment of methodological approaches and their development over time.
  • Kindermann, B., Wentzel, D., Antons, D., & Salge, T. O. (2023). EXPRESS: Conceptual Contributions in Marketing Scholarship: Patterns, Mechanisms, and Rebalancing Options. Journal of Marketing, 00222429231196122.
  • MacInnis, D. J. (2011). A framework for conceptual contributions in marketing. Journal of Marketing75(4), 136-154.



Solving todays 'big challenges' with entrepreneurship and digitalization research

You have an idea how to solve one of our society's "big challenges"? Inspired by the European Commission major societal challenges are:

  • Health (e. g. pandemics), demographic change;
  • Hunger, poverty and unequal distribution of wealth; 
  • Climate change (e. g. global warming, biodiversity loss, natural disasters);
  • Transformation to a secure, clean and sustainable economy;
  • Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies as an alternative to the rising protectionism. 

For these societal challenges, that are not yet fully understood, solutions are urgently required (OECD, 2020). Are you eager to conduct re­search and find a solution how we can tackle any of these major societal challenges?  

  • Fernhaber, S. A., & Zou, H. (2022). Advancing societal grand challenge research at the interface of entrepreneurship and international business: A review and research agenda. Journal of Business Venturing, 37(5).

  • George, G., Merrill, R. K., & Schillebeeckx, S. J. D. (2021). Digital Sustainability and Entrepreneurship: How Digital Innovations Are Helping Tackle Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 45(5), 999–1027.

  • Nambisan, S., & George, G. (2024). Digital Approaches to Societal Grand Challenges: Toward a Broader Research Agenda on Managing Global-Local Design Tensions. Information Systems Research, 1–18.

  • Ricciardi, F., Rossignoli, C., & Zardini, A. (2021). Grand challenges and entrepreneurship: Emerging issues, research streams, and theoretical landscape. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 1–33.