Business professor wins prestigious award

Jennifer Jennings’ paper recognized for significantly changing the conversation in the field of entrepreneurship research.

Business professor Jennifer Jennings received the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division (AOM-ENT)’s 2021 Foundational Paper Award for her paper The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: Toward a family embeddedness perspective published in 2003 in the Journal of Business Venturing

The Foundational Paper Award recognizes a paper, generally published for at least 10 years, that has significantly and positively changed the conversation in the field of entrepreneurship research. The award was presented virtually at the AOM’s most recent annual meeting in early August. 


When delivered in-person to Jennings a couple of weeks ago, it came with a pair of white gloves for handling.

“The award is absolutely stunning and I’m honoured to share the recognition with my co-author Howard Aldrich,” said Jennings.  

Their paper introduced a new framework to the community of entrepreneurship scholars, shifting the trajectory of research in the area in new directions. 

When Jennings joined the Alberta School of Business in the late 1990s, entrepreneurship research primarily depicted business founders as lone superheroes. Jennings and co-author Aldrich challenged this conventional thinking, proposing instead that entrepreneurs are impacted by the families in which they are embedded. They are in fact real people — many with spouses and/or children — who are part of a family system. This type of thinking resonated with the newly established community of family business scholars and inspired new research in this field. Today, the article continues to be highly cited, according to Google Scholar, by researchers around the world.  

Although I am thrilled to learn that this paper has inspired new research on how families influence entrepreneurship, I look forward to future work on how entrepreneurship impacts families,” said Jennings.

About Jennifer Jennings

As a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship, Gender, and Family Business, Professor Jennifer Jennings is one of Canada’s leading researchers at the intersection of gender, entrepreneurship, and the family embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity. Her research often asks, for example, ‘how might female-led versus male-led businesses differ in their growth trajectory? And to what extent are any differences attributable to the different societal expectations of mothers versus fathers?’ In addition to publishing two edited books and over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters, Jennifer has received eight best paper awards for her research. She obtained her Ph.D. in Organizational Behaviour from the University of British Columbia and a BCom from Carleton University. Jennifer is currently a professor at the Alberta School of Business and supports the research, teaching and outreach initiatives of the School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise

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