Rhonda Reger Appointed Director of Research

Dr. Rhonda Reger was appointed as director of research of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tennessee.

The director of research is responsible for fostering entrepreneurship research throughout the Haslam College of Business. The role also is responsible for generating external funding to support entrepreneurship research. Reger assumes these duties on July 1, 2014.

Entrepreneurship research is focused on topics that are vitally important to entrepreneurs and those who provide financing to them. Research focuses on topics such as how entrepreneurs find and exploit better opportunities, how successful entrepreneurs make better decisions to build businesses with limited capital, how venture and angel investors can maximize their return on investment in their portfolio of businesses, and how regions can foster entrepreneurial ecosystems that create and sustain the right kinds of entrepreneurship.

“We know that high growth ventures are the engines of economic growth and new job creation, and most high growth ventures are technology ventures. Other kinds of entrepreneurship follow and regions prosper wherever technology ventures prosper, so much of entrepreneurship research focuses in that sector,” suggests Reger. However, other important research is in need of funding, such as research on social entrepreneurship that looks at ways to help the socially minded improve their communities or even the world, while also sustaining their ventures.

Dr. Reger is a professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship in the Management Department at the University of Tennessee. She previously held positions at the University of Maryland-College Park, Arizona State University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

While serving as a department co-chair at the University of Maryland, Reger created a similar director of research position at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship which provided small research grants to faculty and doctoral students, and provided forums for entrepreneurs to learn about impactful academic research on entrepreneurship and innovation generated throughout the college. “We look forward to her leading similar efforts here,” said Steve Mangum, the dean of the Haslam College of Business.

In addition to her administrative track record, Reger is also a successful researcher. Trained in strategic management, her research focuses on strategies to foster high growth and technology entrepreneurship. Most of her current work applies a cognitive perspective to better understand how to overcome barriers that have limited some regions of the country from creating vibrant technology entrepreneurship ecosystems in spite of enjoying an ample supple of inventors.

She also is studying how the country music ecosystem in Nashville creates new celebrity performers. “While the ‘technology’ of being a star country music performer is different from the technology of being a star technology growth company, the processes and the support systems surrounding them are remarkable similar,” says Reger.

Her work has appeared in numerous top tier journals in her field. She serves on the editorial review boards of four management journals and holds leadership positions in international societies of management professors.

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