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  • 1.
    Vlasov, Maxim
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi.
    Ecological embedding of entrepreneurship for resilience – empirical study of regenerative agriculture2018Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper contributes to the conference and to the literature on sustainable entrepreneurship by developing a theory of ecological embedding. Ecological embedding is a process of transition towards a more intimate understanding of local biophysical environment, and towards practices that are more attuned to this environment. It is illustrated through the ongoing ethnographic study of several regenerative agriculture initiatives in Sweden, a highly affluent and industrialized country. Regenerative agriculture is a concept, which unites more natural agricultural practices that offer alternative to unsustainable agri-food systems. Entrepreneurs, and their enterprises, get more ecologically embedded as they learn to trust their senses; develop ethic of care for natural and built environment; commit themselves and their enterprises to places;  and as they regenerate ecological fabric of places. As such, ecological embedding entails transition both on the individual level of entrepreneur and on the level of an enterprise, which are inseparable from each other. The notion of ecological embedding opens up for several challenges and tensions that characterise both entrepreneurship practice and research. This and other implications for sustainable entrepreneurship are presented.

  • 2.
    Vlasov, Maxim
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi.
    In Transition Toward the Ecocentric Entrepreneurship Nexus: How Nature Helps Entrepreneur Make Venture More Regenerative Over Time2019Ingår i: Organization & environment, ISSN 1086-0266, E-ISSN 1552-7417Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Research on meaning-making has recently enriched our understanding of sustainable entrepreneurship by providing a window into the moral space and the complex reality of entrepreneurs who engage with sustainability issues. This article focuses on meaning-making of one such entrepreneur to explore the role of nature as enabler of sustainable entrepreneurship nexus. It is based on the ethnographic study of the entrepreneur who makes a living out of his pioneering work with forest gardening in Sweden. The transition in meanings that guide the relationship of the entrepreneur with nature, which comes out of the intimate, recursive, and informative exchanges with the ecosystem, makes it possible for nature to come in as a partner and progressively enable the creation of the regenerative venture over time. The emerging regenerative narrative of entrepreneurship stretches beyond the current theories and sets the agenda for ecocentric theorizing about this creative human activity.

  • 3.
    Vlasov, Maxim
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi. Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Statistik.
    Bonnedahl, Karl Johan
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi. Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Statistik.
    Vincze, Zsuzsanna
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi. Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Statistik.
    Entrepreneurship for resilience: embeddedness in place and in trans-local grassroots networks2018Ingår i: Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, ISSN 1750-6204, E-ISSN 1750-6212, Vol. 12, nr 3, s. 374-394Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    This paper aims to contribute to the emerging entrepreneurship research that deals with resilience by examining how embeddedness in place and in trans-local grassroots networks influences proactive entrepreneurship for local resilience.

    Design/methodology/approach

    Three theoretical propositions are developed on the basis of the existing literature. These propositions are assisted with brief empirical illustrations of grassroots innovations from the context of agri-food systems.

    Findings

    Embeddedness in place and in trans-local grassroots networks enables proactive entrepreneurship for local resilience. Social-cultural embeddedness in place facilitates access to local resources and legitimacy, and creation of social value in the community. Ecological embeddedness in place facilitates spotting and leveraging of environmental feedbacks and creation of ecological value. Embeddedness in trans-local grassroots networks provides entrepreneurs with unique resources, including globally transferable knowledge about sustainability challenges and practical solutions to these challenges. As result, entrepreneurship for resilience is explained as an embedding process. Embedding means attuning of practices to local places, as well as making global resources, including knowledge obtained in grassroots networks, work in local settings.

    Research limitations/implications

    Researchers should continue developing the emerging domain of entrepreneurship for resilience.

    Practical implications

    The objective of resilience and due respect to local environment may entail a need to consider appropriate resourcing practices and organisational models.

    Social implications

    The critical roles of place-based practices for resilience deserve more recognition in today’s globalised world.

    Originality/value

    The specific importance of the ecological dimension of embeddedness in place is emphasised. Moreover, by combining entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation literatures, which have talked past each other to date, this paper shows how local and global resources are leveraged throughout the embedding process. Thereby, it opens unexplored research avenues within the emerging domain of entrepreneurship for resilience.

  • 4.
    Vlasov, Maxim
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi.
    Mark-Herbert, Cecilia
    Enabling behaviour change - Social Practice Theory perspective on social marketing strategy2016Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives

    As we are crossing new planetary boundaries (Steffen et al., 2015), changing human behavior is becoming the central focus of sustainable development work. However, social marketers have not yet reached the potential required for shaping pro-environmental lifestyles (McKenzie-Mohr & Schultz, 2014), which are embedded in complex systems where both individual factors and surrounding environment play a defining role in their adoption.

    We all live in communities be that our neighbourhood or entire town, and community is a great example of a system where constant interactions between individuals and their environment shape daily practices. This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework based on Social Practice Theory (Shove et al, 2012) and test its applicability for understanding and aiding behavior change campaigns for entire communities. Consequently, the paper’s objective is to contribute to the debate between the advocates for upstream and downstream social marketing interventions.

    Method

    This paper has flexible design, and builds on literature review and in-depth case study.

    First, to construct a “tight and evolving” framework (Dubois & Gadde, 2002), a set of multidisciplinary literature is reviewed. Based on peer-reviewed articles in social marketing and psychology, the review has four key themes: the current debate about upstream and downstream social marketing (e.g. Cherrier & Gurrieri, 2014); promotion of pro-environmental behaviours (van Vugt et al., 2014) including role of norms (Rettie et al., 2012) and values (Schwartz, 1992); community-based social marketing (McKenzie-Mohr, 2000); and Social Practice Theory (SPT) (e.g. Shove et al., 2012).

    The review is followed by in-depth study of a campaign that promotes sorting of organic waste for biogas production in Malmö (Sweden). The campaign has been running for more than 4 years and successfully reached its ambitious goals. Primary unit of analysis is practice of sorting organic waste, and perspectives from both social marketers and residents, as well as observations of the environment, are taken into consideration. Data is collected using semi-structured personal and phone interviews with 4 key individuals behind the campaign and 14 residents of Malmö of various age, gender and accommodation type. All interviews are recorded and validated. Newspapers and campaign material are used to support the primary data. All relevant technologies proposed by Riege (2003) are applied to establish trustworthiness of this study.

    Finally, narrative analysis is applied, which is aided by various techniques, such as matching and organizing data in tables and graphs, to facilitate coding and categorization.

    Results

    SPT suggests that behavior may be understood better through routinized activities, i.e. practices, which consist of interconnected elements, such as materials, competences and meanings (Shove et al., 2012). This paper puts forward a conceptual framework that incorporates multidisciplinary ideas, as well as different concepts and tools suggested by social marketing research into the model, and shows how they can function together and affect various elements of practice. The framework proves useful in analyzing the campaign in Malmö. The campaign stretched over several years and targeted the entire city, touching upon all elements of practice: materials, e.g. providing infrastructure and convenient holders, nudging; competences, e.g. extensive information campaigns on “how” and “why” of sorting; and meanings, e.g. renewable fuel for city busses, easiness, norms.

    Both practices and practitioners have careers (Shove et al., 2012). The narratives of residents show how their engagement in recycling developed over time, and how their attention shifted from one element of practice to another. This knowledge can assist social marketers in choosing tools that are particularly relevant for a certain stage of practice adoption: (1) providing infrastructure and convenience (materials) for an easy start, (2) apply effective communication and educate (competences) for increased engagement­ and (3) create strong images (meanings) for maintenance of behavior and its uptake by latecomers.

    Finally, behavior change campaigns in communities cannot be perfectly engineered due to a diversity of contextual factors that also affect the process. The adoption of organic waste sorting in Malmö was affected by residents’ families, neighborhoods, work places, coincidences and other practices. Besides, target audience took an active role in the behavior change process in their community, and thus they can be potentially “employed” as ambassadors in such campaigns.

    Conclusions

    By analysing behaviour in terms of social practices and developing a toolbox based on SPT, this paper contributes to the appearing research that strives to develop community-based social marketing approach. Working with behaviour interventions in big and diverse communities is not an easy task. Compared to controlled experiments and short-term campaigns, it requires incessant application of a wide array of tools. Furthermore, behaviour change is a continuous process with different transition stages. Upstream and downstream social marketing approaches can then effectively complement each other, thus the border between them can be reconsidered. Practitioners need to understand behaviours as everyday practices, to apply extensive and transparent research before acting and to engage constantly in open dialogue with the community.

    Appreciation of the community complexity and of a great variety of intervention approaches can enrich social marketing work and produce campaigns that enable behaviour change to ensure a more sustainable future.

  • 5.
    Vlasov, Maxim
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi.
    Vincze, Zsuzsanna
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet, Företagsekonomi. International Business at the University of Turku, Finland.
    Re-learning with permaculture: exploring knowledges of innovation for strong sustainability2018Ingår i: Strongly sustainable societies: organising human activities on a hot and full Earth / [ed] Karl Johan Bonnedahl, Pasi Heikkurinen, Routledge, 2018, s. 249-268Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    It is often claimed that humanity needs more innovation in order to depart from unsustainable practices that degrade ecosystems, although opinions as to what may constitute such innovation diverge. The starting argument of this chapter is that sustainable value of innovation essentially depends on the knowledge, on which this innovation is based. Inspired by Permaculture, an ecological design framework and a trans-local grassroots movement, several moves from Weak to Strong Sustainability Innovation are suggested. The first move is re-learning – from the universal knowledge of global markets, science and technology towards place-based and alternative knowledges that are found, for example, in many indigenous cultures or grassroots movements for sustainability. Other moves include mindful recombining of these different knowledges, embedding of human activities in local places, regenerating ecosystems, and frugalising – making do with less resources. As long as Strong Sustainability can be considered as a viable objective for humanity to strive for, we can conclude that innovation is necessary in its pursuit. Such innovation would involve reinvention of age-old methods and technologies that were used "before oil", and importantly, social innovation that enables transition to less resource-intensive and less technological-dependent practices.

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