Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Paula Kyrö
Chapter 3: Socially sustainable entrepreneurship: a case of entrepreneurial practice in social change and stability
Sustainable entrepreneurship is attracting increasing attention in the entrepreneurship literature. In the present chapter we illuminate how small business entrepreneurs engage in activities of importance for social sustainability and development as they undertake entrepreneurial ventures. This chapter thus examines how small-scale entrepreneurial venturing in a developing country contributes to both sustaining and changing societal structures. Poor people’s participation in markets are in many developing countries restricted by ‘institutional voids’ (Mair and Marti, 2009). In contexts characterized by institutional voids, institutions that support markets are absent or malfunction (Khanna and Palepu, 1997). Extant research primarily differentiates between three types of institutional voids, namely voids that restrict market creation, obstruct market functioning and impede market participation (Mair and Marti, 2009). Voids that impede market creation may comprise weak or absent governance structures, property rights and the rule of law (Mair et al., 2007). Developing countries characterized by institutional voids often lack formal institutions that support market functioning. However, weak formal rules and institutions do not imply an absence of informal, social or cultural-cognitive institutions and norms (Bohannan and Dalton, 1965; Moore, 1978). Developing countries may be characterized by formal institutional voids but may be rich in informal institutions, traditions, customary practices and beliefs which are believed to often impede social and economic development by restricting people from access to the market (Mair and Marti, 2009).