Most academic work on sustainability has been focused on the organizational level, reflecting the popular “business case for sustainability” idea. However, organizations are certainly not the only locus of entrepreneurial action for sustainability, nor are they the most ideal. This chapter reports on a six-year study of the Sustainability Consortium, a collaboration started in 1999 between large companies that were seeking to lead their industry through innovative initiatives for sustainability. The findings, based on 60 interviews and many other sources of data, identify eight “ecologies of entrepreneurial action,” all of which were critical for driving change. These ecologies are: Individual Aspiration; Network Affiliation; Process Optimization; Entrepreneurial Innovation; Value Chain Collaboration; Industry/Sector Coordination; System-Wide Integration; and Social Transformation. As shown by complexity theory, the interdependent and interconnected nature of these ecologies means that only by expanding beyond organizationally focused endeavors can we help generate the social transformation that will lead to a sustainable world.
Lichtenstein, B.B. (2011), "What should be the Locus of Activity for Sustainability? Eight Emerging Ecologies of Action for Sustainable Entrepreneurship", Lumpkin, G.T. and Katz, J.A. (Ed.) Social and Sustainable Entrepreneurship (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 231-274. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1074-7540(2011)0000013013
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