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Design Science in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship scholars have mostly been concerned with sciences which explain and interpret the world; now it is time to pay attention also to sciences which change the world.

(Quote adapted from Ilkka Niiniluoto, 1993)


What is Design Science in Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship-as-design-science is a distinct scientific approach to entrepreneurship that it is primarily interested in design knowledge. Following Simon (1996) design knowledge can be defined as the knowledge on devising ‘action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones’. Design science tackles ‘how to’ questions: Whereas the ‘how’ refers to the actions, the ‘to’ refers to the preferred situations in Simon’s terminology. Examples of such questions are: ‘How to design entrepreneurship training effectively?’ or 'How to develop an ecosystem strategy?’ Following the scientific method, entrepreneurship-as-design-science poses a problem against a scientific body of knowledge, uses scientifically rigorous methods, and checks them against the body of scientific knowledge.

Entrepreneurship-as-design-science is different from mainstream research of entrepreneurship-as-science. The aim of entrepreneurship-as-science is to contribute to explanatory knowledge on entrepreneurship instead of contributing to design knowledge devising entrepreneurial action. Entrepreneurship-as-design-science is also distinct from entrepreneurship-as-practice as the latter does not generate scientific knowledge. The different approaches are nevertheless united. While entrepreneurship-as-design-science shares the ultimate value of entrepreneurship-as-practice of being useful, it shares with entrepreneurship-as-science that it makes use of the scientific method in developing knowledge.

Guiding Principles for Doing Design Science

Based on Seckler, C., Mauer, R., & vom Brocke, J. (2022, in press). Design Science in Entrepreneurship: Conceptual Foundations and Guiding Principles. Journal of Business Venturing Design.

In this section, we build on the previously discussed conceptual foundations to provide practical guidance on how to conduct good design science in entrepreneurship (see Table 1).

We formulate four guiding principles grounded in the dimensions which we have identified as integral to design science as a specific scientific approach: (1) aim, (2) problem, (3) background knowledge, and (4) methods (Bunge, 1996: 79). For each of these dimensions, we provide one overarching guiding principle as well as more specific guiding questions to provide guidance for planning, conducting, and assessing design science research in entrepreneurship. . To develop the guiding frameworks, we draw considerably on work from other fields, and particularly the IS field (e.g., Baskerville et al., 2018; Gregor et al., 2020; Gregor & Hevner, 2013; Hevner et al., 2004; Venable et al., 2012; vom Brocke et al., 2020).

ResearchGate Project

Make sure to follow this ResearchGate project on Design Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Studies to keep up to date about new publications and discussions

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Design Science in Entrepreneurship

Design Science in Entrepreneurship: Conceptual Foundations and Guiding Principles Seckler, C., Mauer, R., & vom Brocke, J. (2022, in press).

Beyond bridging rigor and relevance: The three-body problem in entrepreneurship.

Berglund, H., Dimov, D., & Wennberg, K. (2018)

Toward a design science of entrepreneurship.

Dimov, D. (2016)

Opportunities as Artifacts and Entrepreneurship as Design.

Berglund, H., Bousfiha, M. and Mansoori, Y. (2020).

Presentations from the 2021 Academy of Management Conference

Entrepreneurship as Design (Science)

Henrik Berglund


How to publish design science work in entrepreneurship & management journals

Georges Romme

What makes good Design?

Jan vom Brocke


Modern Classics in Design Science Research

Design science in information systems research. ​

Hevner, A. R., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004)

Design and Natural Science Research on Information Technology.

March ST, Smith GF (1995)

Making a Difference: Organization as Design.

Romme, A. G. L. (2003)

Publishing Design Science Research

Positioning and Presenting Design Science Research for Maximum Impact.
Gregor S, Hevner AR (2013)

Conducting and publishing design science research: Inaugural essay of the design science department of the Journal of Operations Management.

van Aken, J., Chandrasekaran, A., & Halman, J. (2016)

The DSR grid: six core dimensions for effectively planning and communicating design science research projects.

vom Brocke, J., & Maedche, A. (2019)

Design Theory and Design Principles

Management Research Based on the Paradigm of the Design Sciences: The Quest for Field-Tested and Grounded Technological Rules.

van Aken JE (2004)

The Anatomy of a Design Theory.

Gregor S and Jones D (2007)

Research perspectives: The anatomy of a design principle. 

Gregor, S., Chandra Kruse, L., & Seidel, S. (2020)

Accumulation and evolution of design knowledge in design science research: A journey through time and space.

vom Brocke, J., Winter, R., Hevner, A., & Maedche, A. (2019)

Some Philosophical Underpinnings - Bunge’s Notion of Technology

Social Science under Debate: A Philosophical Perspective.

Bunge, M. (1999).

Finding philosophy in social science.

Bunge, M. (1996).

Philosophical dictionary. Key words: Technology and Philosophy of Technology.
Bunge, M. A. (2003).

Supervising Master/Bachelor Theses Following A Design Science Approach

Problem solving in organizations.

Van Aken, J. E., & Berends, H. (2018).

Other interesting reads

The sciences of the artificial.

Simon, H. A. (1996).

A design science research methodology for information systems research.

Peffers, Ken; Tuunanen, Tuure; Rothenberger, Marcus A.; Chatterjee, Samir (2007).

An introduction to design science.

Johannesson, Paul; Perjons, Erik (2014).

Action design research.

Sein, M. K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., & Lindgren, R. (2011).

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