HELLO THERE! Per Davidsson – recipient of a prestigious €100 000 research award

Maria
Gustafsson
DELA
Per Davidsson has been repeatedly ranked as one of the top 10 entrepreneurship researchers in the world. He is now being recognized for his contributions. Photo: Private.

He is a top international scholar in the field of entrepreneurship and is now being recognized for his influential research and community-building. Per Davidsson, Professor at Jönköping International Business School and the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, QUT Business School, is the recipient of the prestigious Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research 2023 with prize money of €100,000.

Congratulations! What does the award mean to you as a researcher and to you personally?

– Thank you very much! As a researcher, I already have a strong position, but the award is a confirmation of what I have contributed to the field. And, of course, it enhances the chances of my current research to have impact.

– For me personally, it feels good that my research is appreciated, and I like confirmation (laughs). I was very happy with the news. The Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research is the highest accolade you can get as an entrepreneurship researcher. And I like the fact that my community-building initiatives in the field is recognized ¬– it has been important for strengthening the entrepreneurship research field. For example, I made sure to connect the big names in our field to Jönköping University, and Australia was hardly known for entrepreneurship research before my time there. Today, both of my universities have a high level of research activity and impact.

You have researched growth and profitability in companies and believe that all companies, including tech companies, should focus on profit before growth to achieve good results in the long run. Is this your most important contribution to entrepreneurship research?

– It is important research because the issue of growth versus profitability is important here and now. Too many companies focus on growing as much as possible without worrying about profitability – it”s seen as something you fnuttfix laterfnutt. This logic is fueled by a few success stories, but for the vast majority of companies, reaching such a level is totally unrealistic. They are not in that type of market. The market for electric scooter rentals, for example, is extremely competitive and it is difficult to get decent profit margins. Nevertheless, there is a lot of money being pumped into electric scooter companies and they all aim to grow fast. This means they have to buy resources and customers at an inflated price – which is not sustainable. The vast majority of companies should focus on profit before growth in order to achieve good results in the long term.

– The research we are doing now is also important. We study how different types of environmental changes – such as pandemics, changed laws, socio-cultural trends, financial crises or demographic developments – are conducive to entrepreneurial responses. All changes are good for some companies. Airbnb was helped by the 2008 global financial crisis, which increased the demand for alternative, cheaper accommodation for tourists, but also increased the resource supply, as many saw an opportunity to earn extra money by renting out a room or their entire home to mitigate negative crisis impact.

– With our research, we will eventually be able to better determine which activities can benefit from which environmental changes, and how. Through a website, researchers, educators, policymakers, and eventually entrepreneurs will get a detailed picture of how an external change can deliver benefits, and for which companies. I think this is an important contribution to entrepreneurship research.

What is the most important area for the field as a whole to research?

– This is exactly what we are doing now on external circumstances and entrepreneurial responses (laughs). Previously, we have not had a coherent body of knowledge about how to exploit changes to the environment for entrepreneurial success. But it is clear that there is a lot of other important research as well. For example, I have a colleague who researches entrepreneurs with physical disabilities and how entrepreneurship can help them live a full life. Entrepreneurship research on mental health and well-being is of course also extremely important.

Contact per.davidsson@ju.se

Read opinion piece by Per Davidsson (in Swedish).

More about the award

The Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research comes with prize money of €100,000. It is awarded by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum and the Institute for Economic Research (IFN). The financier is Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency. Read more about the award at e-award.org.

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