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in Chains and Networks
Coordinators: Vincent Blok,
Thomas Lans, and
Renate Wesselink (Wageningen
University) and the Wageningen
Entrepreneurship Research Network (WERN)
concept of sustainable entrepreneurship has gained importance over the years
(Schaltegger and Wagner 2011) as a merger of the field of sustainable
development and entrepreneurship. While entrepreneurs were originally seen
as self-interested and egocentric, as opposed to the more altruistic
concerns of people involved in sustainable development, it is increasingly
acknowledged that there are entrepreneurs who want to create new business
opportunities in which ecological and societal goals are carefully
integrated into viable, profitable and therefore sustainable business
models. Sustainable entrepreneurs seem to combine the best of both worlds,
i.e. initiating profitable business opportunities while preserving climate
change, reducing environmental degradation or improving agricultural
practices at the same time (cf. Cohen & Winn 2007; Dean & McMullen 2007).
Because sustainable development isn’t just a hype but will have a lasting
impact on our way of living, it is expected that sustainable
entrepreneurship will increasingly become an integral part of business life
in general and of entrepreneurial behaviour in particular.
the concept of sustainable entrepreneurship received considerable attention
in recent research, there are several under-researched areas in general, and
with regard to chains and networks in particular. In the context of the
WICaNeM conference on chain and network management, the following research
areas are of special interest:
Conceptually, the concept of sustainable entrepreneurship draws heavily
on traditional entrepreneurship studies. Entrepreneurship is for
instance defined as the ability to recognize and seize business
opportunities (Shane & Venkataraman 2000) and therefore, sustainable
development is primarily understood as a business opportunity. As a consequence, sustainable development may still be seen from
an economic – self-interested – perspective and social or ethical
concerns are of minor importance. In this specific research area we are
looking for empirical studies or conceptual papers that really integrate
entrepreneurship and sustainable development, in particular on the level
of chains and networks.
Because the ambition of sustainable entrepreneurs is to address
societal challenges like climate change in a profitable way, the concept
is intrinsically linked with the concept of innovation. Because of the
complexity or ‘wickedness’ of problems like sustainable development,
sustainable innovation requires a different approach of problem solving
(a systems approach for instance, in which the long-term impact is taken
into account, as well as all relevant actors of the chain or network).
This raises the question what specific competencies sustainable
entrepreneurs and their employees need in order to be able to innovate
and develop their technologies and business models in a sustainable way
(see for example Lans et al., 2013). A related question is to which
extent these competencies can be developed in education or corporate
environment (i.e. HRD). In this specific research area we are looking
for papers that focus on individual competencies that enable sustainable
entrepreneurs to deal with sustainability challenges in chains and
Entrepreneurs often innovate in collaboration or in partnerships with
(global) supply chain partners. Sustainable entrepreneurship in chains
and networks is underrepresented in current research, which raises the
question what are the specific challenges for sustainable
entrepreneurship in the process of partner selection, partnership design
and partnership institutionalisation in the context of chains and
networks. The perception of sustainable development is for instance
culturally determined. This raises the question how sustainable
entrepreneurs deal with these different perceptions of sustainability
within their global supply chain in order to achieve sustainability
goals. In this specific area we invite scholars to submit proposals that
focus on sustainable entrepreneurship in relationship with chains and
networks and with special attention for the international/intercultural
The demand for inclusive business approaches aiming at sustainable
supply chain development is increasing over the years. The transition
towards a more sustainable business model is already a challenge at
company level, let alone at chain or network level. In this specific
area we are looking for papers which address the role of sustainable
entrepreneurs as change agents in these type of transitions towards
sustainability in chains and networks.
the importance of the emerging field of sustainable entrepreneurship in
chains and networks, this call for papers aims to deepen management
scholars’ and practitioners’
understanding of how networks and chains can effectively be involved
in sustainable entrepreneurial processes in order to add social
value. Therefore, we encourage submission of papers that tackle a
broad range of questions, including (but not limited to) the aforementioned
areas of special interest. Both empirical and conceptual papers are welcome
and we strongly encourage multi-disciplinary submissions in areas such as
management, finance, accounting, supply chain, public administration and
policy, marketing, organizational behaviour, communication, education,
development, sociology and psychology among others. In addition to the track
session, submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process and
will be considered for publication in a
special issue of the
Journal of Chain and Network Sciences
on Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Chains and Networks.
consideration for this WICaNeM track session, please submit your abstract
through the WICaNeM submission system by
WICaNeM2014@wur.nl. For further
questions and remarks, please feel free to contact the track coordinators
Vincent Blok (email@example.com),
Thomas Lans (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Renate Wesselink (email@example.com).
Cohen, B., Winn, M.I., (2007)
Market imperfections, opportunity and sustainable entrepreneurship.
Journal of Business Venturing 22(1),
Dean, T.J., McMullen, J.S.
(2007) Toward a theory of sustainable entrepreneurship: reducing environmental
degradation through entrepreneurial action.
Journal of business venturing 22(1),
Lans, T., Blok, V., Wesselink,
R. (2013) Learning apart and together: towards an integrated competence
framework for sustainable entrepreneurship in higher education.
Journal of Cleaner Production 30
Schaltegger, S., Wagner. M.
(2011) Sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation: categories
and interactions. Business Strategy and
the Environment 20, 222-237.
Shane, S., Venkataraman, S. (2000) The promise of entrepreneurship as a
field of research. The academy of
management review 25, 217-226.