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Personal profile

Personal information

Neil Aaron Thompson is Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship and Organization Studies. He received Msc degrees in International Economics and Business from the Utrecht University in 2009. In 2013 he received his PhD degree, based on a dissertation with the title Institutional Logics and Entrepreneurship – Struggling for legitimacy in the emerging bio-energy field.

His ongoing research covers topics about Entrepreneurship as Practice; Organizational Creativity; New Venture Creation; Sustainable Development; Organization Theory; Institutional Theory; Organizational Change; New Industry Development; Economic Sociology; and Historical Methods. Present research questions are; How do entrepreneurs experience and cope with anxiety through the entrepreneurship process? How has a global entrepreneurship ecosystem emerged and evolved? How can we best conceptualize and research entrepreneurial ecosystems? How does institutional work assist business historians in historiography? How is the imagination implicated in organizational creativity?


Current research projects are varied, reflecting Neil’s keen interest in developing new areas of scholarship. This includes, for instance, building a research community and conducting research that employs practice theory towards understanding entrepreneurial phenomena. Moreover, he examines the role of anxiety in the entrepreneurship process, its causes and how entrepreneurs cope with this emotion driven by uncertainty. Employing institutional theory and institutional complexity, Neil aims to add to understanding of the embeddedness of new venture creation. His research also expands into developing historical approaches to entrepreneurship and organization studies by conducting studies on institutional work in the music industry and the historical development of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Finally, he has a passion for shedding new light on our understanding of organizational creativity by theorizing about the role of the imagination in the creative process.


Neil is the coordinator of two masters courses in the Masters of Science Entrepreneurship programme – corporate entrepreneurship and social dynamics of entrepreneurship. He also teaches in the bachelor level Minor of Entrepreneurship programme in the course Enterprising Behavior. Finally, he assists in masters and bachelor courses on Business Theories and Perspectives, Academic Writing Skills, and Social Entrepreneurship. He also supervises several master thesis projects on topic related to his research interests. Finally, Neil sits on the programme committee of the MSc Entrepreneurship programme.

Ancillary activities

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Ancillary activities are updated daily

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where N.A. Thompson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

entrepreneur Earth & Environmental Sciences
stakeholder Social Sciences
entrepreneurship Social Sciences
legitimation Social Sciences
biofuel Earth & Environmental Sciences
legitimacy Social Sciences
employee Social Sciences
sustainability Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2011 2019

Entrepreneurial activities in a developing country: an institutional theory perspective

Eijdenberg, E. L., Thompson, N. A., Verduijn, K. & Essers, C., Apr 2019, In : International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research. 25, 3, p. 414-432

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Institutional theory
Entrepreneurial activity
Developing countries

Imagining Possible Opportunities through Business Development Practices: A Practice-Based Study

Byrne, O., Thompson, N. A. & Dimov, D. P., 1 Aug 2019, In : Academy of Management Proceedings. 2019, 1, 1 p., 19502.

Research output: Contribution to JournalMeeting AbstractAcademic

Business development
Practice-based studies
Social structure
Enterprise development
Nascent entrepreneurs

‘Don’t Think, Look!’: A Wittgensteinian Critique of Entrepreneurial Action and a Way Forward

Thompson, N. A., Byrne, O. & Dimov, D. P., 1 Aug 2019, In : Academy of Management Proceedings. 2019, 1, 1 p., 14414.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

development theory

Biofuels are (not) the future! Legitimation strategies of sustainable ventures in complex institutional environments

Thompson, N. A., 30 Apr 2018, In : Sustainability (Switzerland). 10, 5, 1382.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Coping with anxiety in the entrepreneurial process

Thompson, N. A. & Van Gelderen, M., Aug 2018, In : Academy of Management Proceedings. 2018, 1, p. 14124

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Achievement Goals

Activities 2014 2016

  • 5 Lecture / Presentation

How Entrepreneurs Experience and Cope with Anxiety

N.A. Thompson (Speaker), M. van Gelderen (Speaker), L. Keppler (Speaker)
6 Jun 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Biofuels are (not) the future! Image mismatch and image work by hybrid organizations

N.A. Thompson (Speaker)
15 Jan 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Examining a global entrepreneurial ecosystem: An Activity Theory Perspective

N.A. Thompson (Speaker), J.K. Verduijn (Speaker)
15 May 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

The True Inner Creatix: Romantic Imagination in Organizational Creativity

N.A. Thompson (Speaker)
23 May 2015

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Babson PhD Consortium

N.A. Thompson (Recipient), 5 Jun 2012


Practice theory

Kaufman Grant

N.A. Thompson (Recipient), 12 Apr 2012