Entrepreneurship in rural regions - institutional entrepreneurs as change agents?
Birgit Leick, Associate Professor in Business Economics and current leader of the research group Business Development and Governance, was invited to the Austrian Academy of Sciences to present her research on institutional entrepreneurs, demographic change and regional economic development.
Birgit Leick, Vienna. Picture: ÖAW/C. Fürthner.
Birgit Leick, Associate Professor in Business Economics, was invited to the Austrian Academy of Sciences for a keynote presentation on her research on institutional entrepreneurship, demographic change and regional economic development.
She presented a paper with the title:
Institutional entrepreneurs – Wer sind diese Agenten des Wandels
in ländlich-peripheren Räumen?
The workshop "Schlüsselakteure der Regionalentwicklung - Welche Perspektiven bietet Entrepreneurship für ländliche Räume?" (engl.: Key actors in regional development - entrepreneurship and rural regions) was organized by the ÖAW-Institute for Urban and Regional Research and took place at the University of Vienna on the 24th and 25th of May 2019.
The presentation focused on the concept of institutional entrepreneurship and how it can work in rural regions. Institutional entrepreneurship originally stems from organizational sociology, but receives increasing attention in other disciplines, for example, in regional studies.
Birgit Leick investigated how individuals, networks and organizations can influence the institutionalized practices of companies and public administration to address demographic change. A prototypical example was a local iniative that was driven by a few researchers in population studies - it eventually led to a more age-friendly city administration. As Birgit Leick shows, such change agents can produce an impact on the practices that companies and other organizations adopt in their daily business operations.
A key message of the presentation was that non-corporate entrepreneurs such as institutional entrepreneurs matter for regional economic development and that policy-makers should try to involve them - besides fostering business start-ups in a region.
However, she also states that institutional entrepreneurship does not represent a normative guideline for regional planners, businesses and policy-makers. Nevertheless, the power and ideas of institutional entrepreneurs as potential change-makers constitutes an important resource in rural regions.