An Exploration into How Emancipatory Entrepreneurship Provides a Transitory Route for At-Risk Societal Groups to Improve Their Life Circumstances

Wainwright, Lee ORCID: 0000-0002-6490-9307
(2022) An Exploration into How Emancipatory Entrepreneurship Provides a Transitory Route for At-Risk Societal Groups to Improve Their Life Circumstances. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The growing recognition of societal grand challenges, and the belief that new organizations can play a direct role in helping to solve them (George et al., 2016), has led to a surge of new ways of understanding, enacting and promoting entrepreneurship. This has become more prominent in social contexts facing challenging or threatening life circumstances, where individuals, organisations and communities are increasingly using entrepreneurial activity to mitigate, alleviate or overcome social problems. This emancipatory view of entrepreneurship has been welcomed by scholars and policy-makers alike, since prosocial entrepreneurial action, as “efforts to bring about new economic, social, institutional, and cultural environments through the actions of an individual or group of individuals” (Rindova et al., 2009, p.477), can potentially lead to positive societal change. While this emancipatory understanding of entrepreneurship is relevant and timely, many questions remain unanswered, particularly in terms of how it is enacted, by whom and with what consequences. First, much of the literature at the intersection of challenging contexts, entrepreneurship and emancipation has been focused on extreme poverty, limiting the explanatory power and potential societal contribution of emancipatory entrepreneurship. Second, emancipatory entrepreneurship has generated limited studies (Jennings et al., 2016), most of them delineating the boundaries around types of groups sharing backgrounds characteristics (Marti et al., 2013, Verduijn and Essers, 2013), rather than the social problems they share or seek to overcome, which is the intended outcome of emancipatory entrepreneurship. Finally, and perhaps as a result of the latter, literature has overemphasised the role of access to resources, undermining the underlying process. These three criticisms bring to light the need for research looking at emancipatory processes propelled by entrepreneurship within at-risk groups, sharing social problems, challenges or threatening life circumstances. This study asks: How does emancipatory entrepreneurship provide a transitory route for at-risk societal groups to improve their life circumstances? Through exploring the process of emancipatory entrepreneuring this thesis has uncovered new understandings for how the most vulnerable and marginalised in society can make substantial change to their lived experience. The doing of entrepreneurship has been shown to produce pro-social outcomes without focus placed upon economic gain. Instead focus is placed upon the interconnected and inter-personal nature of entrepreneuring as a context specific process. Through its enactment those at-risk can find a pathway back into mainstream society, but more so can find a means to develop self-worth, self-trust and self-esteem. In seeking emancipation this thesis highlights that this is not an individualistic process, shunning support from others in attempt to live a life of freedom. Rather it is via social, communal, and engaged action that at-risk populations, who have had their voices restricted or removed from the social reality around them, can express their voices and declare their intentions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2023 14:53
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2023 15:09
DOI: 10.17638/03167895
  • Munoz, Pablo
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