WSSE 2007

as part of CRRC 2007


The concept of sustainability entrepreneurship has emerged from the minds of theoreticians and practitioners alike as a merger between the entrepreneurship and sustainable development agendas. Conceptually, it draws on knowledge from conventional entrepreneurship studies, newer research into social entrepreneurship, and business and environment studies, among others. A creative synthesis is beginning to take shape with contributions from many corners of the world. Although still in its infancy as a field of knowledge, as the number of researchers interested in the relationship between entrepreneurship and sustainable development continues to grow a window of opportunity exists to create a vibrant research community to advance a common understanding of the nature, promise, and limitations of sustainability entrepreneurship. The First World Symposium on Sustainable Entrepreneurship is intended as a first step in this endeavour by bringing together leaders and innovators on the topic for an intensive and exploratory ‘meeting of the minds’. The potential contribution sustainability entrepreneurship could make to sustainable development makes the topic both important and timely.

Goals of the Symposium

The goals of the symposium are to help lay the groundwork for future sustainability entrepreneurship research by:

1) fostering a common understanding of core concepts, definitions, unifying frameworks, and research themes, and
2) establishing dialogue and building a research community, and possibly research partnerships, to advance the field.

Format of the Symposium

The symposium is divided into two parts: the first focuses on conceptualising and mapping the present field, while the second focuses on framing research issues and questions. Each part begins with a short presentation of papers followed by a more extended group roundtable discussion. Written summaries of the outcomes of these sessions will be produced following the symposium.

The emphasis of the symposium is very much on working discussions amongst participants to lay a foundation for advancing the field. The purpose of the paper presentations is twofold: to provide some snapshots of current work in the field, and to serve as catalysts for the roundtable discussions that follow. Consequently, each participant is asked to limit their presentations to 15 minutes at most. Presentations should not cover all details of the written papers. Rather, you should provide an overview of how you have conceptualised sustainability entrepreneurship, and how your work helps to advance the field. The bulk of your ideas should be shared in the roundtable discussions, which provide a better format for productive dialogue than do standard presentations.

All of the symposium papers are publicly available on the conference website.


Session 1A: Conceptualising and Mapping the Field (Presentations)
Session 1B: Conceptualising and Mapping the Field (Roundtable)
Session 2A: Framing Research Issues and Questions (Presentations)
Session 2B: Framing Research Issues and Questions (Roundtable)

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Session 1A: Conceptualising and Mapping the Field

Time: Monday, 16 July, 14:00–15:30
Chair: Bradley Parrish

Fiona Tilley
Conceptualising Sustainability Entrepreneurship
University of Leeds, UK

René Jorna and Laura Maruster
Entrepreneurship and the Sustainability of Knowledge
University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Jane Lorand
Business-as-Usual and Sustainability: Which Paradigm Aligns with our Beliefs?
Dominican University of California, USA

Lutz E. Schlange
Stakeholder Perception in Sustainable Entrepreneurship: The Role of Managerial and Organizational Cognition
University of Applied Sciences, Chur, Switzerland

David Gibbs
The Role of Ecopreneurs in Developing a Sustainable Economy
University of Hull, UK

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Session 1B: Conceptualising and Mapping the Field

Time: Monday, 16 July, 15:45–17:30
Chair: Dr. Fiona Tilley

The purpose of this group discussion is to consider the definitions of central concepts, specifying key constructs in a way that allows comparability of research, to identify points of complementarity and divergence within the field, and to map a larger framework that allows research to be positioned within the field. Such a framework should provide a loose structure for the field, while allowing individuals the freedom to make creative advances by exploring specific questions and dimensions they find most captivating.

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Session 2A: Framing Research Issues and Questions

Time: Tuesday, 17 July, 9:00–10:30
Chair: Dr. Fiona Tilley

Bradley Parrish
Sustainability Entrepreneurship: Innovations in the Logics of Organizing
University of Leeds, UK

Rick Wolk
Alaskan Eco-entrepreneurs: The Role of Knowledge, Technology, and International Networks
University of Alaska Southeast, USA

Dan O’Neill
Making Sustainable Entrepreneurship Culturally Compatible
Arizona State University, USA

Réka Matolay
Entrepreneurship Towards Sustainability? – Comparing Social Entrepreneurship with Socially Responsible SMEs in Hungary
Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Nick Barter
Companies that Swim Against the Tide?
University of St. Andrews, UK

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Session 2B: Framing Research Issues and Questions

Time: Tuesday, 17 July, 10:45–12:00
Chair: Bradley Parrish

The purpose of this group discussion is to consider how empirical research can be used to advance the field. Specifically, we will seek to identify promising and important research themes and directions, consider the relationship between theory and practice and the (possibly hybrid) roles of researchers and practitioners, and the types of research that can contribute to knowledge accumulation within the field and which is suitable for the range of research issues and actors identified.

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The Symposium Venue

The Symposium on Sustainable Entrepreneurship will be held as part of the Corporate Responsibility Research (CRR) Conference.
Participants of the Symposium on Sustainable Entrepreneurship will have the opportunity to interact with other participants of the CRR Conference; the last day of the conference is left open for participants to attend sessions on other topics related to corporate responsibility.
Registration and accommodation should be arranged through the CRR Conference organizers.
Any enquiries about the Symposium on Sustainable Entrepreneurship should be directed to Bradley Parrish.

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