Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Heather M. Annulis, Committee Co-Chair

Committee Chair School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 2

Dr. John Kmiec Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member 2 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 3

Dr. H. Quincy Brown

Committee Member 3 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 4

Dr. Dale Lunsford

Committee Member 4 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Abstract

This study explores factors that influence entrepreneurial ecosystems. Clifton (2010, 2015) recommends entrepreneurship, better business models, and new business startups as a solution for economic renewal in the United States and specifically identifies disengaged workers and low-energy workplaces as the starting point. The recommendation does not address how to make workplaces conducive to entrepreneurial activity, nor does the recommendation address how to engage entrepreneurial employees.

Existing literature outlines the known tensions between theory, anecdotal evidence, and the professional practice of building entrepreneurial ecosystems. To date, the term entrepreneurial ecosystem exists as a metaphor in the extant literature. While scholars have not agreed upon a single definition, they seemingly coalesce around the societal, economic, and technological dimensions of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Human capital theory, diffusion of innovation theory, endogenous growth theory, and knowledge spillover theory serve as the theoretical foundation for this study.

The researcher identified participants for data collection through conversations and interactions with the Innovation Learning Network. The study results describe activities that facilitate (e.g., key people, inclusive processes, and knowledge spillovers) and hinder (e.g., lack of time, lack of commitment, and lack of motivation) workplace innovation programs. Study participants (N = 12) describe how the change agent’s role expands the workplace boundaries, enabling value-added connections and collaborations. Three interviews, used for triangulation, validated the study’s findings. Although barriers exist, study participants contend that workplaces are conducive environments to spark intrapreneurship, promoting innovation in an organization.

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