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Digital Innovation Constellations as Strategic Entrepreneurship : building regional innovation networks through social influence (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/EIS/PEARCE)

Faculty of Business and Law

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Dr A Pearce Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The rapid adoption and normalisation of new digital technologies has significantly affected the ways in which we live and work in the 21st century. Advances in technology have reduced barriers to entry in many established industries, facilitating an influx of start-up companies, often using disruptive innovation. Established organisations change or die. Improved consumer benefits can result in shifts in revenue from one virtual location to another. For predominantly knowledge-based economies, digital-led business innovation presents both threats and opportunities. Industry income can shift swiftly from one geographic location to another due to ‘disruption’ by successful start-ups and corporate upheavals. In these flexible working environments, regions and nations are in direct competition with each other to be at the forefront of the next wave of innovation and bring real development to a region.

Based on this Ciriello et al.’s (2019) recommendations, this research aims to establish how different constellations of people, places and time stimulate collective creativity and innovation. What different kinds of social influence exist in organisations and what is the effect of digital artefacts on social interactions and autonomous strategic behaviour? At which times and in which places do people communicate ideas?

The research will be based in the Northumbria Centre for Innovation, Regional Transformation and Entrepreneurship (iNCITE), focussing on innovation networks and smart specialisation. It is multidisciplinary, encompassing entrepreneurship and information systems, and focussed on the exploitation of social capital. A multiple case study methodology is proposed to encompass various data collection and generation methods. It will form part of the university’s major multi-disciplinary research theme ‘Digital Living’. Access to case organisations and businesses will be facilitated by the supervisory team and the successful candidate will demonstrate the potential to arrange their own access.

This project is supervised by Dr Alison Pearce.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Valencia, Aldo and Pearce, Alison (2019) Notes on Designer Entrepreneurs and "The Geppetto Effect". Design Management Review, 30 (2).pp. 16-21.ISSN 1948-7169

Pearce, Alison, Bailey, Mark and Dziewanowska, Katarzyna (2018) Tempered Radicalism in Co-Creative Practice: Designers, Strategic Entrepreneurs and Action Researchers. In: Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management Conference, 17th-20th April 2018, Warsaw University of Technology.

Skoumpopoulou, Dimitra, Wong, Adam, Ng, Peggy and Lo, Man Fung (2018) Factors that affect the acceptance of new technologies in the workplace: a cross case analysis between two universities. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 14 (3). pp. 209-222. ISSN 1814-0556

Nieth, Lisa, Benneworth, Paul, Charles, David, Fonseca, Liliana, Rodrigues, Carlos, Salomaa, Maria and Stienstra, Martin (2018) Embedding entrepreneurial regional innovation ecosystems: reflecting on the role of effectual entrepreneurial discovery processes. European Planning Studies, 26 (11). pp. 2147-2166. ISSN 0965-4313

Dziewanowska, Katarzyna, Pearce, Alison and Zupan, Nada (2016) Generation Y’s expectations regarding their future employment relationships poses a challenge for their employers. Journal of Human Resource Management, 1.pp. 1-12.ISSN 2453-7683

Pearce, Alison (2015) Use Your Strategic Entrepreneurs to Build Your Strategic Partnerships. Forum Magazine, Summer. pp. 21-23.ISSN 1389-0808

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