Int. J. of Entrepreneurship and Small Business   »   2013 Vol.19, No.2



Title: Disembedded and beheaded? - a critical review of the emerging field of sustainability entrepreneurship


Author: Duncan Levinsohn


Address: Jönköping International Business School, Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Organization & Leadership (ESOL), P.O. Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden


Abstract: Sustainability entrepreneurship (SuE) is an emergent field of study that focuses on the founding and growth of firms that combine the creation of economic value with the pursuit of the environmental and social objectives of sustainable development. A review of the SuE literature is carried out from a critical management studies perspective and five main themes are identified. The article notes that the field is powerfully influenced by its roots in 'green' entrepreneurship and that authors are generally uncritical of the concepts of 'sustainable development' in relation to entrepreneurship. From the perspective of bottom-of-the-pyramid populations it is suggested that these trends involve both risks and opportunities. The author calls upon scholars to integrate a broader range of voices and entrepreneurial topics under the sustainability entrepreneurship umbrella, and suggests that the field make greater use of concepts of sustainable development that are participatory and embedded in nature.


Keywords: sustainable entrepreneurship; sustainability entrepreneurship; shared value; sustainable development; critical management studies; embeddedness; inclusive entrepreneurship; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; corporate sustainability; base-of-the-pyramid; community entrepreneurship.


DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2013.054963


Int. J. of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013 Vol.19, No.2, pp.190 - 211


Available online: 20 Jun 2013



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