Franchising Research


New Directions in Franchising Research, Special issue of Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, Edited by Jim Combs, Dave Ketchen and Jeremy Short; Deadline 29 Jan 2010

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Call for Papers

Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice

Special Issue on:
New Directions in Franchising Research

Franchising is an important form of entrepreneurship in many retail and service industries. Indeed, there are hundreds of thousands of franchised units operating in the United States and in countries throughout the global economy. The annual publishing of Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 also attests to the interest in franchising among a wide practitioner audience. Franchising involves franchisors selling the rights to their operating routines and trademarks to franchisees. Franchisees, in turn, set up and manage local businesses that deliver the franchisor’s products and services under the franchisor’s guidance. The franchisee retains the profits that remain after paying all operational costs, including ongoing fees paid to the franchisor. Overall, franchising is a unique form of entrepreneurship that involves cooperation among two very different types of entrepreneurs. For the franchisor, franchising offers an avenue toward rapid growth – taking an innovation and expanding quickly to reach a broad market. For the franchisee, franchising offers a path toward small business ownership. For both parties, franchising is a potential path to value creation and profitability.

Research on franchising has continued unabated for over 40 years; however, much of the focus has been on how firms choose their mix of franchised and company-owned outlets. One popular approach has been to view franchising as an agency relationship wherein franchisors make a choice about which agent to use in each location, either franchisee or employee-manager. Although agency theory has done much to explain franchising, its explanatory power appears limited within this research domain, resulting in calls for greater theoretical diversity to help explain the phenomenon. Thus, the purpose of this special issue is to reach beyond the basic question of when franchisors use franchisees versus employee managers, as well as beyond agency theory as the basic explanation for franchising.

Appropriate topics for the special issue include, but are not limited to:

  1. How can theories that have not yet been applied to franchising expand our knowledge of franchising?
  2. What research methods or empirical techniques could provide advancements to franchising research?
  3. What roles do franchisees play beyond managing local operations? Do they help franchisors in other ways?
  4. What are the key interpersonal challenges involved in the franchisor-franchisee relationship, and what can be done to overcome these challenges?
  5. Some businesses in the same industry seem to flourish under franchising whereas others do not. What are the key distinguishing features between successful and unsuccessful franchisors?
  6. How does franchisees’ ability to network influence outlets’ success?
  7. What unique organizational forms arise via hybrid arrangements such as master franchising, and what are the implications of these forms for franchisor and franchisee performance?
  8. What types of entrepreneurs become franchisees? Are they different from independent business people and managers in larger companies?
  9. What makes a franchisee successful? Are there biographical, personality, or behavioral attributes that franchisors should look for in franchisees?
  10. How does franchising interact with other important factors that impact performance, such as strategic resources, corporate governance, and business strategy?
  11. Under what conditions does franchising aid various aspects of performance, such as growth, efficiency, and local outlet success?

We invite both conceptual and empirical papers that help bring new directions to franchising research. All papers will undergo the standard double-blind review process. Our aim is to collect a group of papers that help Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice meet its stated purpose to “significantly advance the entrepreneurship field.”

The Guest Editors for this special issue are Jim Combs, Florida State University (, Dave Ketchen, Auburn University (, and Jeremy Short, Texas Tech University (

The deadline for submissions to the special issue is January 29, 2010. Papers will be accepted between January 1 and January 29, 2010 only. Proposals submitted before January 1 or after January 29 will be returned to the authors.

Manuscripts should be submitted online at

Full instructions and support are available on the site and a user ID and password can be obtained on the first visit. Please see:

for the most current submission guidelines.