The purpose of this paper is to develop an original six-phase model describing entrepreneurial learning in the transition of place-based enterprises toward a sustainable exploitation of natural common resources (commons).
The six-phase model proposed by this study explains the learning processes involving place-based enterprises through two important existing theories: adaptive co-management and Lachmann’s evolutionary, embedded theory of entrepreneurship. The proposed model integrates these two theories on the basis of a longitudinal case study on the fishing enterprises in an Italian marine protected area (MPA).
In the case study, the success factors identified by the adaptive co-management literature proved important in enabling an embedded entrepreneurial learning process consistent with Lachmann’s view. The case analysis allowed the authors to cluster these learning processes around six phases. Further, even if traditional fishing is not knowledge-intensive, this case shows the transition to a sustainable business model required intense efforts of educated institutional work and scientific research. Interestingly, the key learning processes were enabled by the emergence of a larger, networked social entity (a network form of organization) including the community of fishermen, the MPA management and a network of scientists studying the marine area ecosystem.
This study is explorative and relies on a single case study. Despite this limitation, it opens up new research paths in the fields of entrepreneurship, institutional work, network organizations and adaptive management of the commons.
This study is strongly interdisciplinary; it proposes an original model based on a theoretical view that is highly innovative for organization and management studies; and addresses a relevant but overlooked issue with important societal implications.
This paper forms part of a special section Entrepreneurial learning dynamics in knowledge intensive enterprises.
Cantino, V., Devalle, A., Cortese, D., Ricciardi, F. and Longo, M. (2017), "Place-based network organizations and embedded entrepreneurial learning: Emerging paths to sustainability", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 504-523. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-12-2015-0303
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