Why we publish in entrepreneurship – by Alan Sturmer

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Photo: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann (CC BY 2.0)

Edward Elgar Publishing has built a list in the field of entrepreneurship that is second to none in academic publishing. Alan Sturmer, Executive Editor of our USA office, reflects on how and why this came about.

The obvious reason for our strength in entrepreneurship is that the founder, Edward Elgar, was himself an entrepreneur. He saw the need among research libraries for better access to key research and founded the company, in 1986, around the idea of providing printed volumes of seminal research articles contextualized by an introduction written by a senior scholar. As the list grew and developed, the company began to publish original works of research and today we publish over 300 books a year across the social sciences and law.

Initially, the primary field published by EEP was economics. In 1942, the economist Joseph Schumpeter outlined the process whereby entrepreneurs would innovate, creating new industries and products and processes that would replace existing companies with new dynamic firms, i.e. creative destruction. It is no coincidence that the first book we published in entrepreneurship was written by an economist, Mark Casson. Over time, other fields brought their own perspectives to the phenomenon and the interest in the topic flourished. Scholars from strategy, sociology, psychology, finance and other related areas examined the myriad issues surrounding the act of innovation and starting a business. The idea of a person building his or her own economic future and in doing so, providing something new to the world, is a fascinating and compelling story for most people. And so it is for us. Our enthusiasm for the story has not waned in more than fifteen years of publishing entrepreneurship. The processes and narratives keep us interested and the people involved and with whom we work keep us engaged.

Perhaps more than in any other subject in business, books play a major role in spreading entrepreneurial thought. It is one of the most popular topics in bookstores and online. One of our earliest publications, Scott Shane’s A General Theory of Entrepreneurship, continues to be read and cited widely, while Saras Sarasvathy’s innovative principles were popularized in her influential volume Effectuation.

From Per Davidsson to Robert Litan, Robert Baron to Howard Aldrich, all of the wonderful folks at Babson College, and many others, we have had the great privilege of working with and publishing some of the most influential scholars in entrepreneurship. The dynamism of the research and writing being done reflects very much the dynamism of the field. The concepts have been extended well beyond business into politics and social endeavors. Those teaching and researching the field are themselves entrepreneurs, constantly creating new ideas that change the way entrepreneurship is viewed, and the way it is taught. We count ourselves very lucky to play a small part in all of this and look forward to continuing to publish new and innovative research and pedagogy well into the future.

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