Special Issue "Thinking Entrepreneurially, Thinking Sustainably: How Do We Learn How? Innovative and Responsible Pedagogy in Entrepreneurship and Management Education"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2021.
Important Dates
• Submission of paper proposals (500 words approx.) outlining the aim/main rationale, research questions, methodology and expected results by 15th October 2020
• Notification of accepted paper proposal by 20th October 2020
• First draft of papers (5000 - 6000 words + references) due by 4th January 2021
• Authors receive reviews with feedback by 25th January 2021
• Final revised chapter for publication due by 1st May 2021
Questions and informal enquiries should be directed to: [email protected]

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lene Foss
Guest Editor
Department of Pedagogy and Psychology, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University, Sweden and School of Business and Economics, UiT-The Arctic University, Norway
Interests: educational management, entrepreneurial education, responsible innovation
Prof. Dr. Liz Browne
Guest Editor
School of Education, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Interests: educational Leadership, student voice and empowerment, ICT in education
Dr. Norris Krueger
Guest Editor
Entrepreneurship Northwest, Boise ID ,USA
Interests: entrepreneurial learning (including neuroscience) and entrepreneurial ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue will enhance scholarly understanding of how entrepreneurship education needs to adjust, change and develop to address the needs of a changing and complex world.  This world has been described in terms of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) (see Petrie 2019) as evidenced in the recent Covid-19 pandemic and other large scale disasters, all placing additional pressures on students and educators.  Focused specifically on the subject of entrepreneurship, this edition of the Journal of Sustainability seeks to pose key questions about an entrepreneurial focused pedagogy for the future which is both innovative, responsive and responsible in offering new solutions to the world problems faced today.

Entrepreneurship can be defined as an “activity that involves discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities for new venture creation to introduce new goods and services, ways of organizing, markets, processes and raw materials through organizing efforts that previously have not existed (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000).  This view implies that entrepreneurship is a process, and that it is learnable. Entrepreneurship education (EE) can be defined as “developing the mindset, skill set, and practice, necessary for starting new ventures” (Neck and Corbett, 2018: 10), as value creation (Blenker et al. 2011, Lackèus, 2016; Vestergaard et al., 2002) and is viewed   as key competence for lifelong learning (European Commission, 2006).According to Neck and Corbett (2018) EE is now on a tipping point where it is essential to build a knowledge base on teaching and learning entrepreneurship that can aid educators in their teaching development. This is echoed by Fayolle (2018) who suggest it is time to critically reflect upon practices and assumptions of EE that are taken for granted.  

Entrepreneurship education has been offered at all levels of schooling from primary, secondary, through to graduate university programs.  Its aim and purpose is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success in a variety of settings.  However, with the uncertainty and challenges facing world order we propose that it is time to rethink entrepreneurship education.  It is time to seek, as the international Council for Small Business (ICSB)  stated in their post of  May 23rd, a more humane approach to entrepreneurship in practices encompassing  ‘empathy, equity, empowerment, and enablement for all’ (ICSB:2020).

 “As the world retreats inward, both business practices and consumer habits have significantly shifted. Consumers are starting to recognize the value of being able to expend their resources while concurrently awakening to the troubles that small businesses globally face. As for businesses, many have also reflected on their values and practices, deciding where to make cuts and how to demonstrate employee-value, (and customer (our insert) at this time.  We have all been influenced by this global reset”. (ICSB:2020) 

We need a pedagogy that embeds ethical, social, and environmental concerns in entrepreneurship education. This requires readjustment, change and new tools to ensure that would-be entrepreneurs develop and realize businesses, responsive to the needs of society. To do so, we lean on the vocabulary from responsible innovation: to broaden stakeholder inclusion early in the innovation process, which is important to enhance business visions, purposes, issues, and dilemmas for wide and collective deliberation through the processes of dialogue, engagement, and debate (Owen et al., 2013). Lean models of innovation and agile method emphasize user inclusion at early stages and continuous interactions during the whole process (Ries, 2011; Cooper, 2017). Users or stakeholder represent  a spectrum of innovation behaviors and can considerably contribute to entrepreneurial process via being informed, involved or even innovating together with entrepreneurs (von Hippel, 2016; Iakovleva et.al., 2019). Ability to invite and to hear those voices to anticipate the possible solution becomes one of the most crucial skills entrepreneurs need to successfully launch their innovation to the market. Florèn et al. (2017) argue that innovation projects failures often occur due to too early lock-ins in the “fuzzy front end” of innovation, when dominant designs were established too early without enough inputs or experimentation. Thus, the principles of responsible innovation (anticipation, inclusion, and reflection (Stilgoe et al., 2013) fit well and add to well-accepted methods that allow flexibility and prolonged design space for innovation processes.    

In the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic and other world challenges we foresee that pedagogy pertinent to entrepreneurial education in the higher education sector, will need to change in order to be more attuned to, aware of, and capable of including stakeholders.  Thus, this SI calls for the attention to responsible entrepreneurship education. 

We welcome submissions from a variety of disciplines, including pedagogy, entrepreneurship, innovation and management.  Both conceptual and empirical papers will be considered.  This special issue aims to offer a series of articles that encourage theoretical development and empirical examination of topics including:

  1. How does entrepreneurial education need to change and adapt to meet the needs of learners in a period of global uncertainty? What are the skills and mindset needed to figure out opportunities, evaluate & iterate, and ultimately execute them? How do we best learn them? How do we assess that learning?
  2. What role does the Higher Education sector have in promoting entrepreneurial approaches that will result in responsible business practices? 
  3. What does responsible pedagogy even mean in reality, for educators, students and stakeholders?
  4. How can the elements of responsible innovation (anticipation, inclusion and reflection) be integrated in management education? 
  5. How can an education built on responsible innovation principles enable humane entrepreneurship and innovation practices?
  6. How can a curriculum built on inclusion of stakeholders prepare students for acting responsibly in work life?


Blenker, P., Korsgaard, S., Neergaard, H. & Thrane, C. (2011)  The questions we care about: paradigms and progression in entrepreneurship education. Industry & Higher Edu cation, 25 (6), 417-427.

Browne, L. (2020) Educational Change in Times of Challenge: a practice first theory informed guide to educational leadership. Oxford: David Fulton

Cooper, R. G. (2017). Idea-to-Launch Gating Systems: Better, Faster, and More Agile: Leading firms are rethinking and reinventing their idea-to-launch gating systems, adding elements of Agile to traditional Stage-Gate structures to add flexibility and speed while retaining structure. Research-Technology Management60(1), 48-52.

Fayolle, A. (2018) Personal views on the future on entrepreneurship education. In A.J. Fayolle (Ed.), A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship Education.Cheltenham, UK:Edward Elgar Publishing.

Florén, H., Frishammar, J., Parida, V., & Wincent, J. (2018). Critical success factors in early new product development: a review and a conceptual model. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal14(2), 411-427.

Gambardella, A., Raasch, C., & von Hippel, E. (2017). The user innovation paradigm: impacts on markets and welfare. Management Science63(5), 1450-1468.

Goodman- Benito, J.& Kursonova, A. & Halme, N. (2017) Our Collaborative Future: Activities and roles of Stakeholders in Sustainability- Oriented innovation. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19 (3), 164-181.

Iakovleva, T., Oftedal E.M., Bessant, J. (2019) Responsible Innovation in Digital Health. Empowering the Patient. Edward Elgar.

Kazadi, K., Lievens, A., & Mahr, D. (2016) Stakeholder co- creation during the innovation process: Identifying capabilities for knowledge creation among multiple stakeholders. Journal of  Business Research, 69 (2), 525-540.

Lackèus, M. (2016) Value creation as educational practice-towards a new educational philosophy grounded in Entrepreneurship? Doctoral thesis. Chalmers university of technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Nabi, G., Liñán, F., Fayolle, A., Krueger, N., & Walmsley, A. (2017). The impact of entrepreneurship education in higher education: A systematic review and research agenda. Academy of Management Learning & Education16(2), 277-299.

Neck, H.M., & Corbett, A.C. (2018) The scholarship of teaching and learning entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Education  and Pedagogy, (1) 1, 8-41.   

Owen, R., Stilgoe, J., Macnaghten, P. Gorman, M., Fisher, E., Guston, D.  A framework for responsible innovation. in Owen, R. & Bessant, J.  (2013) Responsible Innovation: Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons,

Petrie, N. (2019) Future Trends in Leadership Harvard University; Centre for Creative Leadership

Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Currency.

Shane, S. & Venkataraman, S.(2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 25(1), 217- 226. 

Stilgoe, J., Owen, R. & Macnaghten, P. (2013). Developing a framework for responsible innovation. Research Policy, Vol.42(9), pp.1568-1580.

Von Hippel, E. (2016). Free innovation. MIT press.

Vestergaard, L., Moberg, K. & Jørgensen, C. (2012) Impact of Entrepreneurship education in Denmark – 2011. The Danish foundation for Entrepreneurship – Young enterprise.

Prof. Dr. Lene Foss
Prof. Dr. Liz Browne
Dr. Norris Krueger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • responsible innovation
  • pedagogy
  • humane entrepreneurship
  • sustainable entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneurial mindset
  • entrepreneurial skills
  • responsible management
  • responsible business practices

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Back to TopTop