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Sowing the Seeds of Change: Entrepreneurial Practices in a North-South Collaboration on Pemba Island from a Structuration Perspective
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims to expand our understanding of social entrepreneuring on the micro- and meso-levels in the Global South. The study employs structuration theory by Giddens to explore how social entrepreneurs in a North-South collaboration engage in everyday practices that aim to affect socio-ecological regenerative change. It examines how social entrepreneurs can act and affect change when they face constraint structures, including the cessation of project funding. 

This study uses ethnographic methods to investigate a Non-Governmental Organization, Community Forest Pemba, on Pemba Island, Zanzibar. A focus is on a Global Climate Change Alliance project that the European Union funded at a time when the funding came to an end. This study provides theoretical insight into the field of social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship as practice. The findings show that engaging in everyday practices in a North-South collaboration involves a dynamic interplay between interdependent social entrepreneurs and a co-created structure that allows for the possibility of change. For example, unsustainable livelihood activities on Pemba Island were transformed into regenerative polyculture spice farming practices. Common perspectives and ways of working towards sustainable development were modified during this transformation.

Furthermore, this thesis sheds light on the nuances inherent to and the complexity of entrepreneurial agency in a Global South setting. In this context, the study’s findings illustrate how Global North funding partners disrupt existing structures by providing an institutional framework in terms of ‘rules of the game’ that determine how one should behave and how things must be accomplished to receive project funding. Ironically, once funds are no longer available, funders created constraints in terms of their rules of the game which makes the social entrepreneur’s continued engagement in their routine everyday practices problematic since they lack the required resources and rules to reproduce the conditions of the previously prevailing structure. Notwithstanding this, social entrepreneurs retain some degree of agency and can continue to affect change within the prevailing constraint structures after a project’s funding end by using existing resources and rules to create small inventions at the community level. This implies, for example, the substitution of financial capital with informal social networks to create small home-grown innovations and alternative sources of capital.

This study demonstrates how structuration theory, which recognizes the interplay of agency and structure, provides a powerful framework to investigate entrepreneuring. It also enables researchers to develop a nuanced understanding of entrepreneurial agency by analyzing how social entrepreneurs can affect change in constraint structures.

This study adds empirical weight to the field of entrepreneurship as practice by providing empirical insight into everyday entrepreneurial practices on the micro- and meso-levels through the use of ethnographic research methods. Specifically, this study contributes to knowledge about social entrepreneurship in East Africa. African voices often go unheard and are undervalued in discussions on climate change. This thesis amplifies marginalized people’s voices and practices in Africa and enriches our understanding of social entrepreneuring in the Global South.

This study makes a methodological contribution by providing insight into how to disclose detailed entrepreneurial practices. This study argues that ethnographic studies are highly valuable and even indispensable to the examination of entrepreneurial practices as they unfold because it demands empirical closeness to these phenomena.

The findings in this dissertation have implications for policymakers and development organizations who operate in the domains of climate change adaptation and poverty alleviation. This study suggests that project exit strategies must be agreed upon in North-South partnerships. Furthermore, policymakers need to pay attention to the constraints imposed by the systemic structural inequalities that inform development projects. Dominant actors in North-South collaborations should take heed to, recognize, and embrace the plurality of voices and marginalized perspectives that exist in such collaborations. This implies that: (i) the rules that govern North-South partnerships should be more equitable, and (ii) South partners should co-decide the nature of these (new) rules.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnaeus University Press, 2022. , p. 269
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 439
Keywords [en]
social entrepreneurship; entrepreneuring; structuration theory; sustainability; Global North-Global South partnership; East Africa, climate change
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Business administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-110711ISBN: 9789189460690 (print)ISBN: 9789189460706 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-110711DiVA, id: diva2:1642330
Public defence
2022-03-25, Weber, Hus K, Växjö, 16:20 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-03-07 Created: 2022-03-04 Last updated: 2024-03-11Bibliographically approved

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