Duncan and colleagues publish new research on entrepreneur-customer collaboration

Carrie M. Duncan

In a recent study, a research team including Truman School visiting assistant teaching professor Carrie M. Duncan examined the value of collaborations between entrepreneurs and their customers. Led by Sara Elias, assistant professor at the University of Victoria, along with Todd H. Chiles from the MU Trulaske College of Business and Denise M. Vultee from Wayne State University, the team used video, photographic, and textual data from an 11-month study of four arts entrepreneurs to identify three interrelated processes: imagining, contemplating, and consensus building. Through these processes, the authors say, entrepreneurs and customers co-create aesthetic value.

The authors suggest that the study’s findings could help practicing entrepreneurs recognize customers as having a vital role throughout the entrepreneurial creation process. This knowledge could, in turn, lead entrepreneurs to develop empathy, foster deeper connections with customers, and become more reflective. The authors describe these skills as fundamental for invigorating the creative process, developing strong communities of devoted end users, and garnering much-needed (but often limited) support from key stakeholders.

Read the full article, “The aesthetics of entrepreneurship: How arts entrepreneurs and their customers co-create aesthetic value,” published online first in a special Organizational Creativity, Play, and Entrepreneurship issue of Organizational Studies.

In addition to her academic appointment, Duncan is the interim director of the MU Center for the Study of Organizational Change where Elias is also a research associate. Her research interests include the psychodynamics of organizational culture and change, governance and nonprofits, mental health service delivery, and psychosocial research methods. Duncan has published in Voluntas and Parenting: Science and Practice.