Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Ethical entrepreneurship for sustainability

New ways of theorising leadership and organising within the context of value-based ecopreneurship in Poland and the United Kingdom have been examined and proposed.
Ethical entrepreneurship for sustainability
Self-organisation and social entrepreneurship are becoming a global phenomenon. This highlights a need for in-depth research into their organising, leadership and ethical processes and practices, especially since tasks, relationships and accountability are less clear than in business organisations. Ethical leadership and action is fundamental to these community-based organisations.

ECOPREN (Value based entrepreneurship: A study of the cultural, organizing and leadership dynamics of social entrepreneurship) was an EU-funded project that conducted longitudinal research on value-based organising and leadership activities. The work, based on in-depth qualitative data, explored and compared Polish and United Kingdom organisations adhering primarily to an ethical system concerned with sustainability and ecology.

Empirical data was collected through ethnographic interviews and observation in value-based organisations. Thirty-one organisations were successfully contacted for initial data collection, followed by 12 for intensive and continuing ethnographic study.

Fieldwork revealed that the organisations studied had many different structural and ownership forms (including private businesses via social enterprises and informal organisations). Main differences were associated with contextual conditions and the strong local ethos and roots of the researched organisations.

Different outlooks were involved and different technologies and business models were utilised among the organisations. In terms of similarities, each of them had a close network of local contacts serving the needs of the local community. Cultural dynamics, values, a commitment to social change through economic activity, and a radical and own usage of management knowledge were aspects the organisations had in common. Results have been published in several journal articles and disseminated through presentations.

The cultural dynamics of the organisations in the study may be of interest to other types of organisations interested in moving towards an ecological, humanistic and ethical mode of functioning. Value-based organisations may serve as useful role models and benchmarks. The research will also be useful for local and national policymakers, academics and civil society.

Related information


Value-based, ecopreneurship, social entrepreneurship, ECOPREN, leadership dynamics
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