The purpose of this research is to examine the evolution of entrepreneurship, explain the reasons for why it is not contributing significantly to the global sustainability challenge and propose a new approach and business model to better enable it to do so.
The research adopts a grounded theory–style approach based on case study production and analysis using secondary data and, where appropriate, personal observation.
The paper concludes that entrepreneurship has failed to address the sustainability challenge because of its emphasis on “making as much money as possible” and its failure to appreciate that the planet is a system. It concludes that for any solution to be successful it must be based on systems thinking and should integrate or harmonise the traditional, separately applied approaches to entrepreneurship in order to produce a business model with a Triple Bottom Line, whereby Profit, Planet and People are in Harmony.
While the proposed model is based on a real-life case, it needs to be tested in different politico-economic contexts and industry sectors. It has the potential, though, to impact very considerably the traditional thinking on entrepreneurship and its application.
The proposed new approach will have significant implications for entrepreneurship education and training, including the adoption of a stakeholder rather than shareholder approach to management.
Sustainability is arguably the most urgent and critical problem facing contemporary society. The proposed model provides a potential solution to that problem, particularly at the local community level.
The research proposes a new approach to entrepreneurship that breaks with the Friedman (1970) mantra that the purpose of business is to “make as much money as possible”.
Kirby, D.A., El-Kaffass, I. and Healey-Benson, F. (2022), "Harmonious entrepreneurship: evolution from wealth creation to sustainable development", Journal of Management History, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-11-2021-0060
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