Orla Byrne

Access Centre
Quinn School of Business



Orla joined UCD as Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Strategy in 2015. Prior to joining UCD, Orla was Prize Fellow of Entrepreneurship at the University of Bath, UK. She obtained her PhD from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Orla has held visiting scholar positions at Kelley Business School, Indiana University USA and at Aalto University, Finland. 

Orla's research focuses on uncertainty in the entrepreneurial process, in particular sensemaking and practices in early stages of new venture creation and events of business failure and exit. 
Orla teaches entrepreneurship modules on the MBA and MSc programmes at Smurfit School of Business, and on the undergraduate BComm and associated programmes at Quinn School of Business. She has previously taught entrepreneurship on graduate and undergraduate programs at Strathclyde Business School, School of Management, Bath, and formerly at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dublin.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2008.
Title: Fellow of National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education


Association: UCD Cantillon Research Centre for Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation, Function/Role: Member of Academic Advisory Board
Association: Academy of Management, Function/Role: Member
Association: Global Network for Advanced Management , Function/Role: Entrepreneurship Representative for UCD
Association: COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland), Function/Role: Certificate in Counselling Skills
Association: Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Function/Role: Certificate in Supercoaching Entrepreneurship

Conference Contributions

Byrne, O. & Biniari, M. (2017) Breaking up (with your business) is hard to do: The process of identity renewal after business failure. [Oral Presentation], Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, University of Oklahoma , 07-JUN-17 - 10-JUN-17.
Byrne, O. & Dimov, D. (2017) Entrepreneurship as Practice. [Oral Presentation], 2nd Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Workshop, University College Dublin , 20-FEB-17 - 21-FEB-17.
Byrne, O., Oliveira, B., & Dimov, D. (2016) Entrepreneurship as Practice: A research agenda. [Oral Presentation], 1st Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Workshop, VU University Amsterdam , 17-FEB-16 - 19-FEB-16.
Byrne, O, Oliveira, B, Dimov, D. (2015) Entrepreneurship as practice: Past developments and future possibilities. [Oral Presentation], Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business (RENT) XXIX, Zagreb, Croatia , 18-NOV-15 - 20-NOV-15.
Byrne, O. & Arshed, N. (2015) If at first you don't succeed, don't try again: A review of enterprise policy, business failure, and second chance entrepreneurship. [Oral Presentation], Strategic Management Society, Santiago, Chile , 08-FEB-15 - 11-FEB-15.
Byrne, O. & Shepherd, D. (2014) The rocky road of business failing: Making sense of the business failure process. [Oral Presentation], Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, USA , 04-AUG-14 - 08-AUG-14.
Byrne, O. (2014) My business failed, who am I?. [Oral Presentation], Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, London, Ontario, Canada , 16-JUN-14 - 19-JUN-15.
Byrne, O. and Shepherd, D. A. (2012) The rocky road of business demise failure and recovery: A journey of emotions, overcoming obstacles, and learning. [Oral Presentation], Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland , 12-NOV-12 - 14-NOV-13.
Byrne O., Mullen, H., Mason, C. & Marlow, S. (2011) The liabilities of failure: A reassessment of failure as springboard for entrepreneurial success. [Oral Presentation], Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K , 13-NOV-11 - 16-NOV-11.
Byrne, O. (2010) An exploration of how entrepreneurs recover from business failure. [Roundtable Participant], Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Conference (RENT), University of Maastricht, Netherlands , 14-NOV-10 - 15-NOV-11.
McLoughlin, B., Moylan, T. & Byrne, O. (2010) The creative industries and the development of cultural entrepreneurship education: Reality or myth?. [Oral Presentation], Association for Cultural Economics International Conference, University of Copenhagen, Denmark , 14-NOV-10 - 16-NOV-10.
Byrne, O., Cronin, C. & Rossiter, C. (2009) Linking theory and entrepreneurial practice: An Irish case study. [Invited Oral Presentation], Higher Education Training and Awards Council Conference, Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland , 16-NOV-09 - 15-NOV-10.
Byrne, O., Heagney, C., McIntyre, B., Montayne, J., Murphy, M. & Stenson, A. (2008) Helping students to do the business: Innovative projects in a business degree. [Poster Presentation], Learning Innovation Network Conference, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland , 16-MAR-08 - 18-NOV-08.
Byrne, O. & Moylan, T. (2007) One mode doesn¿t fit all: A study of entrepreneurship education in non-business disciplines. [Oral Presentation], World University Network Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA , 16-NOV-07 - 18-NOV-07.
Byrne, O., O¿Gorman, C. and Pandya, D. (2006) Exploring the benefits of incubation: The entrepreneurs¿ perspectives. [Oral Presentation], Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA , 06-JUN-05 - 09-NOV-05.
Byrne, O., O¿Gorman, C. and Pandya, D. (2004) The Entrepreneurial process and information flows: A study of firms located in business incubators. [Oral Presentation], Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Conference (RENT), University of Lodz, Poland , 16-NOV-04 - 18-NOV-04.


Committee : External Review Committee-EU Life Long Learning Programme
Committee : Irish National Steering Group in Women's Entrepreneurship


Year 2005 Institution: DunLaoghaire Inst Art Design & Tech., IRL
Qualification: MBBS Subject:
Year 2010 Institution: University of Strathclyde
Qualification: Other Subject:
Year 2013 Institution: University of Strathclyde
Qualification: PhD Subject:
Year 2002 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: BComm(Int) Subject:


Client: Scottish Government
Client: Enterprise Ireland

Outreach Activities

Guest Speaker: Bord Gais Energy 'Courage to Succeed' Conference 2016. Title of presentation: "The courage to start a business (and the fear of it failing)"
Workshop organiser: 2nd Entrepreneurship as Practice Workshop @ UCD College of Business, February 2017

Judge: Bord Bia Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs, Johnstown House, May 26th & 27th 2016
Ad Hoc Reviewer: Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice, International Journal of Management Reviews, International Small Business Journal, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour
Member of advisory panel for Liquidations and Bankruptcies Group, Australia who support and retrain entrepreneurs after business failure

Press Coverage: Quoted in "Coping with unexpected hurdles is the key to taking a product to market" by Olive Keogh, The Irish Times, August 31, 2015

Press Coverage: Quoted in "Freelancing: Is there a way back to full-time employment?" by Rin Hamburgh, The Guardian, June 10, 2015

Press Coverage: "At Least The Apprentice Brings Failure out of the Shadows, It can be the start of success" The Conversation, December 2014 (viewed 1300 times)

Radio Interview: Conversation about business failure and second chance entrepreneurship on The Business with Richard Curran, RTE Radio 1, January 11th, 2015.

Radio Interview: Conversation about business failure and second chance entrepreneurship with Steve Le Fevre at Breakfast, BBC Radio Bristol, December 19th, 2014.
Organised Industry Event: "When Sh** Hits The Fan: Hints and tips for dealing with challenges and business failure" University of Bath Business Innovation Centre, February, 18th 2014.

Other Activities

Additional Funding Awards:
  • "Ripples of Organisational Closure: Adopting a stakeholder perspective to sensemaking and sensegiving during a closure process." e4,500 from UCD College of Business Research Funding Scheme (2016);
  •  "2nd Annual Entrepreneurship as Practice Workshop @ UCD College of Business." e4,875 from Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (2016);
  • "Enlightening the Elusiveness of Opportunities: Applying a practice approach to the entrepreneurial process." e2,700 from Research and Impact Seeding Fund: School of Management, University of Bath (2015)
  • "Learning from Business Failure." PhD stipend from Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde (2009 - 2012);
  • "Tools for Enterprise Education: DVD Case Studies of Entrepreneurs." e10,000 from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, Departments of Business and Enterprise and National Film School, Institute of Art, Design and Technology (2008)



Peer Reviewed Journals

Byrne, O; Shepherd, D. (2015) 'Different Strokes for Different Folks: Entrepreneurial Narratives of Emotion, Cognition, and Making Sense of Business Failure'. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39 (2):375-405. Link to full text [Details]
O'Gorman, C., Byrne, O. and Pandya, D. (2008) 'How Scientists Commercialise New Knowledge via Entrepreneurship'. Journal of Technology Transfer, 33 (1):23-43. [Details]

Published Reports

Byrne, O (2005) Campus business incubation: Best practice manual. Enterprise Ireland, Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland. [Details]


Orla Byrne (2013) Scottish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Audit & Recommendations. Department of Entrepreneurship and Co-operative Business, Scottish Government: Consultancy [Details]


Research Interests

My research centres on the challenges and opportunities of navigating uncertainty in the entrepreneurial process. Adopting both sensemaking and practice approaches to entrepreneurship, I use qualitative methods to develop micro-level insights into the lived experience of being an entrepreneur. This involves exploring how entrepreneurs make sense of changes, realign expectations and renew goals during new venture creation, opportunity development, and business exit processes. 

Research Projects

Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Entrepreneurship as Practice: An alternative approach to entrepreneurship research
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-16 / 30-APR-18

Recent Postgraduates

I am currently supervising a PhD student at School of Management, University of Bath, in the area of entrepreneurial vicarious learning and welcome PhD candidates in the area of entrepreneurship. 



Modules Coordinated

201600   BMGT30090     Business Management: Entrepreneurship in Action
201600   BMGT44300     Business Management: Creativity Innovation & Entrep
201600   BMGT42770     Business Management: Entrepreneurship


Internal Collaborators

Co-investigator on research project with Dr. Annette Clancy. The project is titled "Ripples of Organisational Closure: Adopting a stakeholder perspective to sensemaking and sensegiving during a closure process. The project was awarded funding from UCD College of Business Research Funding Scheme, November 2016. 

External Collaborators

Dr. Marina Biniari, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.
Prof. Dean Shepherd, Indiana University, Indiana, USA.
Dr. Bruno Oliveira, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Prof. Dimo Dimov, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
Dr. Norin Arshed, Heriott Watt University, Edinburgh, UK. 

Discover our Rankings and Accreditations