MBA Research
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MBA Program Chair and Alumni Publish in International Journal of Innovation Science

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YEREVAN, Armenia American University of Armenia (AUA) Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program Chair and College of Business and Economics Associate Professor Dr. Mane Beglaryan, together with MBA graduates Dr. Anush Drampyan (MBA ’16) and Parandzem Sargsyan (MBA ’18) published an article on “Innovation under uncertainty: who holds the upper hand? An empirical study of Armenian SMEs” in the International Journal of Innovation Science.  

Considering that higher variability in the external environment exerts stronger pressure on firms to become more proactive and to adapt to environmental changes by introducing new products, the study examines how high external uncertainty drives innovation in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A variety of factors could influence a firm’s innovative capabilities, among which are the important role of managers in enabling the firm’s innovative attitude. The authors examine extensive literature on the subject matter and conclude that one of the characteristics of managers that could influence their propensity to undertake innovation under uncertainty is gender-based. This is especially true for emerging economies, where the entrepreneurial landscape is characterized by gender inequalities. The findings from the study indicate that male managers have a higher propensity to undertake innovation under uncertainty relative to their female counterparts. 

Reflecting on this two-year collaborative effort, Dr. Beglaryan notes: “I am extremely pleased to receive the acceptance of our joint paper in this premier journal, which reflects the quality of our work. The review process has been extremely meticulous, with our article undergoing several phases of improvement before securing acceptance in this high-ranking journal published by Emerald. We are also very grateful to the reviewers for their valuable comments, which helped us refine our work. Initially presented at the 2022 British Academy of Management conference in the UK, the study benefited greatly from reviewer feedback, which, combined with the journal review process, ultimately led to publication. Working with my former students MBA graduates from different years who have further advanced in their academic and practical pursuits it took persistent collaboration to examine a topic that is largely relevant to Armenian small- and medium-sized firms. While the gender dimension has gained significant attention in entrepreneurship research with no homogenous findings, we needed to delve deeper to understand the phenomenon and the specifics pertaining to the Armenian innovation ecosystem where female managers are less likely to innovate.” 

The study infers that specific policy implications that would avail stronger institutional support to help female-led SMEs engage in innovative practices when faced with intense external uncertainties to navigate potential crisis situations. The authors also call for female-targeted entrepreneurial accelerator programs to boost women-led SME growth and sustainability, paired with encouraging innovative mindsets and practices. These findings are in line with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, for which Armenia was a participating country in 2019/2020.

Dr. Drampyan received her Ph.D. in economics and management from the University of Padova and currently works as a financial analyst at the multinational consulting company Leyton in Italy. She pursues her research activity while working with innovative companies on a daily basis, helping them improve their performance for sustainable development. Speaking about this joint effort, she states: “Working through the process of writing the article and leading it to publication was definitely a challenge. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to collaborate with my co-authors, and I am very pleased with the end result. What makes me extremely proud is that our research is based on data from Armenia, which puts our country on the scientific research map and provides valuable insights for other small developing countries like ours. Our results provide important practical implications, which highlight the role of the government in implementing policies aimed at reducing the gender gap in the entrepreneurial landscape of Armenia.”  

Sargsyan is a 2018 AUA MBA graduate and adjunct lecturer at the University who has led AUA’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment since June 2023. She is also lead product intelligence analyst at ServiceTitan Armenia. Sargsyan shares, “Starting out in research was tough as a newcomer, but diving into the research process, tackling the complex survey data, aligning it with our hypotheses, and drawing conclusions valuable to Armenian SMEs and the existing literature was truly thrilling. One significant finding for me was that in Armenian SMEs facing environmental uncertainty, factors like managers’ gender significantly influence product, process, and organizational innovation. This insight could guide decision-makers toward fostering innovation among female entrepreneurs. I hope to live in a society where gender plays a lesser role across all fields than it does today. Therefore, I hope that my collaborative research with senior colleagues will contribute to realizing that vision.”

The International Journal of Innovation Science (IJIS) is a peer-reviewed academic journal that provides a platform for the exchange of advanced knowledge in innovation, including emerging technologies and best practices, tools and techniques, metrics, and organization design and culture, as well as stakeholder engagement, change management, and leadership skills required to ensure innovation succeeds.  

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.