Pegram Harrison is a Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. He is a member of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and of Exeter College, Oxford.
Pegram's research and teaching concern entrepreneurship and leadership in an entrepreneurial context. He teaches entrepreneurship (pre-start-up, opportunity recognition and business planning) and leadership (especially in entrepreneurial contexts) to executives and Diploma students, as well as on the MBA and undergraduate programmes.
He also conducts research at the intersection of business and social issues, and on projects relating to business education, particularly for women entrepreneurs in Muslim communities.
Pegram received a BA in Literature from Yale University, a PhD in English Literature and Indian History from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from the London Business School. Before joining Saїd Business School in 2008 he taught entrepreneurship and strategy at the European Business School, London, and was Director of the Emerging Leaders Programme at the London Business School. He has also taught literature and history at New York University and Birkbeck College at the University of London.
Pegram has worked as a strategy consultant around the world for both public and private sector organisations, as well as for governments in both developed and developing countries.
He is a founder member of the Pan European Entrepreneurship Research group, an association of researchers based at Paris-Dauphine University working on European entrepreneurship and higher education.
Research on entrepreneurial leadership is in its infancy, Pegram believes. ‘There’s a lot of research on entrepreneurship and on leadership and very little on the intersection of those two fields. In addition, there’s very little understanding of what the concept of entrepreneurial leadership might be and how it can be developed in organisations, or taught in learning environments.'
He has been working in this field for two years and reports: 'Preliminary findings indicate that entrepreneurial leadership is a useful concept and in certain contexts can be developed, but it’s probably a lot easier to do so outside of the classroom.'
Pegram is currently researching the challenges of refining entrepreneurship teaching on MBA programmes. He is particularly interested in the creation of a different kind of learning environment, with an approach that integrates lessons from outside the classroom into the classroom: “Activity-based learning, work-based projects, mentoring and any number of creative learning methods are much more effective than traditional lecture-based teaching in developing entrepreneurial leadership capability.”
A quarter of the world’s population identifies itself as Muslim and the UK is predicted to be one third Muslim before 2020. Interest in entrepreneurship and Islam is rapidly growing, as is its relevance to all of us.
Pegram has spent eight years researching this area, with field work in Pakistan, the Gulf and South and South-East Asia, as well as in Islamic communities in the east of England. His research aims to clarify the concept of Islamic entrepreneurship as a distinct category of analysis. It has been centred mainly on women and explores the challenges of being an Islamic woman entrepreneur. Pegram says, “There are social and economic factors about the Muslim world that complicate our current understanding of entrepreneurship, especially among women - and there’s very little data or theory, and very high demand for increased understanding.”
Issues relating to risk, contracts, and organisational form all seem to be determined in essentially different ways within an Islamic social context. As this context permeates more aspects of life and work in the coming generations, it is important to investigate these difference and to accommodate them in our research and teaching, as well as in practice.
Pegram has delivered policy-related consulting and executive education programmes to groups including the UK Foreign Office, the Bahrain Institute of Public Administration, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, British Council India, and Women in Equity - a Paris-based research group working on issues of gender in entrepreneurship.
Pegram has worked with governments in developing and developed countries. For example, in his work with the Prime Minister's office of Malaysia, he has helped to facilitate the implementation of policies around innovation and entrepreneurship for economic development.
In his executive education programmes, he is committed to helping participants return to their roles better equipped to make major impacts thanks to improved leadership skills and more entrepreneurial mindsets. For instance, in his work with DP World of Dubai, he has focused on leadership development for the next generation of executives who will run one of the world’s largest logistics organisations, involved in projects such as building the largest container port in the UK .
In addition to his teaching and research on entrepreneurship, Pegram consults at the intersection of business and social issues, and on projects relating to business education, particularly for women entrepreneurs in Muslim communities. He likes to work where there are clearly defined values at three levels: individual, organisational and societal; to try to achieve engagement broadly, as well as, focused ways. This has led him to consult strategically with civil service organisations, NGOs and private companies which have essential roles in positive economic development.
He is a founding member of the Pan European Entrepreneurship Research group which links researchers from a variety of European institutions at the Université de Paris Dauphine.
Pegram directs or contributes to a large number of custom designed programmes for diverse organisations such as Dubai Ports World, the UK National Council for Entrepreneurship in Education, various government ministries in Malaysia, CommerzBank, Discovery Holdings in South Africa
He supervises DPhil students working within his areas of interest, including entrepreneurship and Islam, and entrepreneurship and leadership.
Pegram's teaching style reflects his interest in experiential learning. He says, “I'm very interested in giving students the opportunity to learn from each other; and try to use a lot of interdisciplinary perspectives such as history, literature and music.” For example, he has developed workshops based on film and music to develop team-working and leadership skills. He lectures on the growth of the University of Oxford at various points in its history as an illustration of entrepreneurial leadership. And especially with executive education clients in the Middle East and South Asia, he uses teaching activities and case studies relating to the historical spread of Islam through trade and kinship networks.
In executive education, Pegram directs the open enrolment Oxford Transition to Leadership Programme, and contributes to other programmes: Advanced Management and Leadership, Impact Investing, High Performance Leadership, Women Transforming Leadership, and numerous others within the School, including:
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
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