2021 Award Winner
Per Davidsson is Talbot Family Foundation Professor in entrepreneurship at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and professor of entrepreneurship at the Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) in Sweden. He does not come from a business family or entrepreneurial environment; his interest in entrepreneurship may instead be due to psychological reactance to growing up in a steel town with one, dominant employer. However, he failed to drop out of Stockholm School of Economics’ doctoral program to start his own marketing research business as he had planned after identifying that market as underdeveloped in Sweden at the time. Instead, he graduated with a Ph.D. in 1989, entering a practically non-existing field of research only to find himself being “relatively senior” in the then-booming field of entrepreneurship research just a few years later. He was recruited to the academic start-up JIBS at its inauguration in 1994 taking the role of full professor; a rank he formally reached in 1996. He was one of the key actors in JIBS’ incredible journey from local laughingstock to international fame in less than a decade. While retaining an affiliation with JIBS to this day, he emigrated to Australia in 2004, where he never learned to surf but founded and led the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) and renamed and reshaped the ACERE conference among other vehicles to elevate the level and international presence of Australian entrepreneurship research. His contributions have earned him an honorary doctorate (Leuphana, Germany) and The Australian Research Supplement (2018) declared him #1 in lifetime achievement among Australian scholars in Business, Economics & Management. His 2015 article in Journal of Business Venturing is the best-cited paper since its publication in what is regularly seen as the #1 journal in entrepreneurship and sets the foundation for his current main interest: external enablement of entrepreneurial action and success. This addresses how changes to the business environment—be they technological, regulatory, sociocultural, demographic, natural-environmental, or otherwise—can be strategically leveraged in business development. Again increasing his engagement with JIBS while remaining resident in Australia, he plans to spend the greater part of his remaining career pursuing this important topic, which has been neglected in recent decades.
Photo source: phototonyphillips.com