Photo or researchers at Jonsered Manor

Gothenburg U-GOT KIES: 12th bi-annual Fall Workshop 2023

The Fall 2023 Gothenburg U-GOT KIES workshop focused upon improving both qualitative and quantitative research in our area. Two methodology discussions as well as three paper presentations enabled us to focus on how to improve and publish ongoing research, for researchers at all stages of their careers.

Within the broader area of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Gothenburg U-GOT KIES centre aims to promote excellent research; improve graduate training; and increase societal impact. The centre is an arena with intermediary functions and a toolbox of people, networks, and activities, used to institutionalize interactions over time and space between stakeholders.

- A few times each year, we aim to have fun during lively discussions of on-going research, and trends, organized outside our office space, says Maureen McKelvey, Director of the Gothenburg U-GOT KIES.

The 2023 Fall workshop took place on Thursday 9th November at Jonsered Manor. The Manor is a beautiful setting, with a history is dating back to the Middle Ages; and now part of the University of Gothenburg.

Astrid Heidemann Lassen, Associate Professor of Operations and Innovation Management, Aalborg University, and member of the U-GOT KIES Steering Committee, was one of the participants in the workshop.

- The Jonsered workshop was very inspirational! It is so nice to see the next generation of early career scholars working in this domain of knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship. Especially inspiring how they are building upon and also expanding on our earlier work in the book McKelvey & Lassen Managing Knowledge-intensive Entrepreneurship (Edward Elgar).

Photo of Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen
Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen

Methodology sessions

The workshop included two methodology sessions. The first addressed Hypotheses and hypotheses testing, with Prof. Anders Broström as discussion leader. Hypothesis testing is a fundamental component of the scientific method, and as such a principle that plays an important role in many debates about demarcation (what is scientific – what is not?) and criteria for the relevance or quality of research. During this session the participants reviewed the role of research hypotheses in contemporary empirical research. They also discussed the use of hypotheses in crafting a research paper as well as looked at ‘bad practice’ – examples of how authors inexperienced with hypothesis-driven paper writing may go astray.

Methodology session with Anders Broström
Methodology session with Anders Broström

The second session was on Digital trails: Using archival data in qualitative research, with Dr. Marouane Bousfiha as discussion leader. There has recently been a significant surge in the utilization of archival data within qualitative analysis, not just as a supplement to other primary sources, but as the main data source. This growth can be attributed to the availability of digital traces that actors (people and organizations) leave behind when they go about their daily business. During the session the participants discussed the new methodological opportunities and challenges facing researchers who use archival data to generate theory. The dialogue was centered around specific examples from published articles and exercises to stimulate debate on these recent methodology trends.

Participants of the workshop

Paper presentations

The workshop contained three paper presentations and discussion.

Paper 1: Erik Gustafsson 

Exploring how the University can Promote Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship: technology transfer for knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial firms in Sweden
Authors: Gustafsson, E., McKelvey, M., and Zaring, O.  

Social innovation and entrepreneurship is crucial for promoting inclusive and sustainable transformation. However, we know less about how universities can enable social innovation and entrepreneurship amongst students and employees. This article explores one specific channel for university impact - supporting knowledge-intensive entrepreneurs (KIE) in delivering social innovation as services. We conduct a theoretically informed case study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, analysing one firm started by alumni and one firm started by employed researchers. We propose a conceptual framework, explicating how social KIE entrepreneurs mobilise different resources from the university in knowledge-intensive services of teaching, research, and social impact.

Paper 2: Karin Berg 

How and why do individuals enter academic engagement as firm-employed PhD students?
Authors: Berg, K., McKelvey, M., and Saemundsson, R.J.  

This paper contributes to a better understanding of new forms and practices of academic engagement with industry, by studying the perspective of firm-employed PhD students.

 Such students are concurrently enrolled in PhD programs and employed by firms. These individuals must overcome tensions in university-industry research collaborations and act as boundary spanners, where cognitive distance in turn affects their ability to influence the firm’s innovation activities. Our results are: First, this paper helps enrich our understanding of the students’ motivations and antecedents. Second, based on further analysis, we present a taxonomy of three modes of entry, in order of relative frequency: Supervisor-initiated project, Firm-initiated projects, and Master thesis-initiated projects. These three modes affect different PhD students’ relative cognitive distance to innovation activities within the firm, and hence their ability to act as boundary spanners during academic engagement activities.

Digital paper session

Paper 3: Roberto Fontana

Where do firms come from? Knowledge relatedness and firm entry 
Authors: Lee, S.H., Fontana, R., and Malerba, F. 

Despite extensive prior research, empirical studies on the relationship between knowledge relatedness and firm entry have provided elusive and inconsistent evidence. Some studies have pointed to a direct relationship between knowledge and entry. Others have highlighted the presence of a negative relationship. Some others have emphasized the presence of non-linearities. This paper tackles the issue of both theoretically and empirically. From the theoretical viewpoint we propose a unified framework that is able to reconcile the prior inconsistent evidence. From the empirical viewpoint, we test the framework in the context of 50 years of evolution of four industries: semiconductors, computers, software, and communications equipment. Our results support the idea that the relationship between knowledge relatedness and entry is generally non-linear even though the direction as well as the magnitude of the effect is moderated by the type of entrant (i.e., diversifier, spinoff, spinout).

About Gothenburg U-GOT KIES centre

The Gothenburg U-GOT KIES centre promotes research and related impact activities about knowledge-intensive innovation ecosystems and society, from an economic and business perspective. Within our broader area of innovation and entrepreneurship, we aim to promote excellent research; improve graduate training; and increase societal impact. We conceptualize the Gothenburg U-GOT KIES centre as an arena with intermediary functions and a toolbox of people, networks and activities, used to institutionalize interactions over time and space between stakeholders. Thus, the centre enables us to deliver excellent research, and impact on graduate students and society, in line with the Swedish Research Council’s Distinguished Professor Programme on these topics. Hence, once or twice a year, we aim to have fun during lively discussions of on-going research, and trends, organized outside our office space.