Dr Kassa Woldesenbet

Job: Senior Research Fellow & Director of the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Faculty of Business and Law

Research group(s): Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Research

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 2551551 ex 6720

E: kwoldesenbet@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.creme-dmu.org.uk


Personal profile

Kassa Woldesenbet is a senior research fellow and Director of the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation. He undertakes research in areas of entrepreneurship, SMEs, supplier diversity, SMEs and public procurement, strategic management, knowledge and transition economies. The research process and publications from the research have led to a substantial knowledge creation and user engagement with notable impacts. He is a lead academic researcher on the ‘Supply to the Public Sector’ project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by the Leicester City Council.  Working on the intersection between theory, policy and practice, his work provides important insights into issues relating to small businesses, ethnic minority entrepreneurship, diversity and enterprise. Further, he studies how senior managers in transition economies manage businesses using a variety of themes such as legitimacy, institutional logics, rhetoric, sensemaking and learning.

Research group affiliations

Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation

Publications and outputs 

Click here to see a full listing of Kassa Woldesenbet's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Woldesenbet, K., Ram, M., & Jones, T (2012) ‘supplying large firms: The role of entrepreneurial and dynamic capabilities in small businesses’, International Small Business Journal, 30(5):493 -512.

 Ram, M., Jones, T., Paul, E., Kiselinchev, A, Muchenje, L., and Woldesenbet, K (2012), Engaging with super-diversity: New migrant businesses and the research–policy nexus, International Small Business Journal, Published online before print March 12, 2012, doi: 10.1177/0266242611429979 –

Ram, M. , Trehan K, Rouse J, Woldesenbet K, Jones T, (2012)  ‘Ethnic minority business support in the West Midlands: challenges and developments" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 30(3) 504 – 519.

Ram, M., Woldesenbet, K., & Jones, T. (2011) ‘Raising the “table stakes”?:  ethnic minority businesses and supply chain relationships’ Work, Employment and Society, 25(2):309-326

 Woldesenbet, K. and Storey, J. (2010) Processes of senior managers' sensemaking and learning in a transitional economy. Human Resource Development International, 13 (5), pp. 501-518.

Research interests/expertise

Kassa’s research interests cut across various themes and include: small business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, ethnic minority businesses, supplier diversity, public procurement, business support, management knowledge, sensemaking, learning, and business management in transition economies.

Areas of teaching

CORP2181: Business Research issues and Analysis; Corp3400: Strategy and Management Dissertation; LPBG5017: Dissertation Supervision


PhD, MSc, MReS, PGCertHE, Fellow of HEA

Courses taught

Management & Strategy, Business Communication and Creativity.    

Honours and awards

  • November 2015 – a  Best paper  award  by Institute for  Small Business & Entrepreneurship (ISBE)
  • Overall 2012 ISBJ Best Paper Prize awarded by the International Small Business Journal Editors and associate Editors, Feb 2013
  • Distinction in Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, De Montfort University, 11/2010
  • October 2003- June 2007: PhD Studentship funded by the Open University.
  • October 2002- September 2003: Postgraduate scholarship funded by the Open University.
  • Best paper award written by doctoral students by British Academy of Management in 2006.

Membership of external committees

Member of the British Academy of Management since 2005.

Conference attendance

Murithi, W., Woldesenbet, K., and Vershinina, N. (2017)  Do ‘Harambee Spirit’ and ‘Familiness’ share their meanings in the context of ICT Sector Family Businesses in Kenya? Paper to be presented at 17th European Academy of Management Annual Conference, 21- 24th June, Glasgow, UK.

Babajide, A., Obembe, D., Solomon, H. and Woldesenbet, K. (2017) Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities through Microfinance in Nigeria. Paper presented at 5th European Research Conference on Microfinance, 12-14th June, Portsmouth, UK.

Woldesenbet, K. (2017) Managing ‘legitimacy level and navigating institutional logics in transitional economies. Paper presented at 22nd Eurasia Business and Economics Society Conference, 24-26 May, Rome, Italy

Gast, A., Vershinina, N., and Woldesenbet, K. (2016) Beyond the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mixed embeddedness approaches: A review and research agenda. paper presented at ISBE 2016 Conference, 27-28 October, Paris, France.

Woldesenbet, K. (2016) Constructing and extending legitimacy, and exemplifying social orientation to manage competing institutional logics. paper accepted for presentation at the British Academy of Management 2016 Annual Conference, Newcastle, UK, September 6-8.

Vershinan, N., Woldesenbet, K, Kaur, K, and Trehan, K. (2016) Breaking out or Breaking in? Exploring family dynamics in planning for succession', paper to be presented at Academy of Management Meeting, Anaheim, California, 5-9 August 

Woldesenbet, K., and Theodorakopoulos, N (2015)  ‘Strategizing in the context of transitional Economy: the interplay between firm level and institutional logics’, Paper  presented at the 15th European Academy of Management Annual Conference, June 17th- 20th, Warsaw, Poland.

Theodorakopoulos, N., Sanchez-Preciado, D;, and  Woldesenbet, K.(2015)  ‘Intermediation for Technology Transfer from Academia to Rural Industry as Institutional Work: Filling the Void in a Less-developed Economy Setting’, Paper presented at 30th European Group for Organization Studies  (EGOS) Colloquium , July 2-4 2015, Athens, Greece.

Woldesenbet, K, Worthington, I, and Ram, M ( 2015) ‘ Public Sector Procurement and ‘under-represented businesses’ : engaged or estranged, Paper  presented at the British Academy of Management ( BAM) 29th Annual Conference, 8th- 10th September, Portsmouth, UK.

Vershinina, N., Kaur, K., Woldesenbet, K (2015) ‘Understanding Stakeholder Relationships amongst Punjabi-Indian Family Firm Members’ a paper presented at ISBE 2015 Annual Conference, Glasgow, UK

Jeremiah, M., Woldesenbet Beta, K and Vershinina, N (Sept 2015) “Examining the Corporate Social Responsibility Contribution to Environmental Sustainability in Developing Countries: The Role of Accountability Perspectives” BAM Conference, Portsmouth, UK

Woldesenbet, K., and Storey, J. (2013), The use of dominant logics in a transitional economy’, paper presented at the 13th European Academy of Management (EURAM) 2013 Annual Conference, June 26-29, Istanbul, Turkey

Woldesenbet, K, and Ram, M.(2013), SMEs and public procurement: contextualising the theory of mixed embeddedness’, paper presented at the 13th  European Academy of Management (EURAM ) 2013 Annual Conference, June 26-29,  Istanbul, Turkey 

Woldesenbet, K. (2009) ‘Making sense of senior managers’ ‘need to know’ in a transition economy’, Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC) Annual Conference, VU University of Amsterdam, 26-28 April.

 Woldesenbet, K., Storey, J., and Salaman, J.G. (2007), ‘Top-level managers’ knowledge about strategy and strategizing in a turbulent environment’, British Academy of Management Annual Conference, University of Warwick, 11-13, September.

Woldesenbet, K., Storey, J., and Salaman, J.G. (2006), ‘Senior managers’ business knowledge in a transition economy', British Academy of Management Annual Conference, Belfast, 12-14 September (Awarded best paper prize authored by a doctoral student).

Woldesenbet, K., Storey, J., and Salaman, J.G. (2006), 'Top managers’ knowledge about strategizing and capability: a study in Ethiopia', DRUID Summer Conference 2006 on 'Knowledge, Innovation and Competitiveness: Dynamics of Firms, Networks, Regions and Institutions', Copenhagen, Denmark, 18-20 June.

Woldesenbet, K., Storey, J., and Salaman, J.G. (2006), 'Managers’ business knowledge in a transition economy', First International Conference on  Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC ), University of Warwick, 20-22 March.

Woldesenbet, K. (2009) ‘Making sense of senior managers’ ‘need to know’ In a transition economy’, Paper Presented at International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC), April 26-28 Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This paper is one of the outputs from my PhD research. Conference attendance is funded by the department of Strategy & Management.

Ram, M., Woldesenbet, K., & Jones, T (2009) ‘Raising the “table stakes”:  ethnic minority businesses and supply chain relationships’, paper presented at the Institute for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference. Attendance funded by the CREME. 

Current research students

Jeremiah, Mfon Solomon - 1st Supervisor

Kaur, Kiranjit - 1st Supervisor

Murithi, William - 1st Supervisor

Gast, Annabell - 2nd Supervisor

Ogunsade, Adekunle - Isaac 2nd Supervisor

Lahaware, Zeeshan - 2nd Supervisor 

Externally funded research grants information

Supplier Diversity in the UK project was funded by the HEIF.  The project started in September 2006 and ended in August 2008.  I was involved in writing up the research report based on the interviews conducted with ethnic minority businesses’ owners and their employer in 2009.

The Minority Ethnic Enterprise Centre of Expertise (MEECOE) was a project funded by the Advantages West Midlands.  The project ran from December 2008 to November 2010.  I was involved as a researcher in one aspect of the MEECOE project - Stakeholder engagement.   Interviews with various intermediary organisations were conducted in 2009 and the report was completed in January 2011.

Supply to the Public Sector project is funded by the ERDF and managed by the Leicester City Council.  The Project started in 2009 and will end in June 2012.  From February 2011, I am a lead academic researcher on the project.  With my colleague, we have undertaken interviews with the directors of 15 small businesses and five social enterprises as well as 10 senior procurement managers in six public sector organisations.  I am now working on writing   the project report and developing theoretical and conceptual frameworks to write up research articles based on the project’s work.  Hence, the end of the project report and writing publications are priorities in 2012. The research would inform theory, practice and policy in area of public procurement and supply diversity.   

Professional esteem indicators

Regular reviewers of Internal Small Business Journal (from 2011)

Reviewers of paper submitted to Small Business Management Journal from 2013


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