Friday, May 5, 2017

Prosocial organising workshop

This workshop organised around a Journal of Business Venturing special issue at Ivey Business School, London (Ontario), was by far the biggest (work-related) surprise of my April.

I went there really worried and came back really uplifted. I wish workshops were always like that.

Prosocial organising? Do we really need another fairly difficult concept out there? Does it help us to understand what entrepreneurship is, how does it take place and evolves over time? How does it contribute informing entrepreneurs on how to tackle social problems and develop visions for a thriving change for our neighbourhoods, communities and other systems we are embedded in?

Well, it seems it does... During the workshop I had at least three epiphanies:

  1. Prosocial motivations and behaviours have specific and well-defined meanings, that is, having concern for others and voluntary practices intended to benefit others. And the study of organising processes around prosociality is at least old as I am (Brief and Motowidlo 1986);
  2. There is still a knowledge gap on how prosocial organising relates to processes of integrating competing values in organisations, interplays with other existing institutions (families, communities, laws, markets) and contributes to achieve impact in society. 
  3. Prosocial organising is actually a concrete thing. It was humbling to live and touch the experiences of great people - an international kayak champion, a laundry social entrepreneur, a entrepreneur cutting across construction and toy business, and a youth empowerment social entrepreneurs. Their life stories were incredibly touching.

Perhaps the most uplifting thing for me was to see the workshop organisers and my fellow participants enacting - what I understood so far of - prosocial organising.

This really helped my co-authors and me in seeing our enormous dataset and long experience with food and energy consumer communities in a new and more nuanced light.

Thank you. These things make academia beautiful and do have lots of unexpected spillovers.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Youth entrepreneurship in conflict areas

How do youth engage in entrepreneurship and innovation to seize strategic opportunities in food and ag markets in conflict areas and transition economies? How can training programs meaningfully support them in this process? Supported by a USAID-funded research and capacity building project in Mindanao (The Philippines), my co-authors Prof. Catherine Chan, Dr. Cynthia Lai, Prof. Elma Neyra and me participated to a book tackling these questions.

Please give a look or purchase the book here!

And let me know if you are interested to receive a private copy of the following chapter:

Lai, C., Chan, C., Dentoni, D., Neyra, E. (2017). “Measuring youth entrepreneurs’ potential: the case of an out-of-school youth training program in Mindanao, Philippines.” Ed. Chan, C., Sipes, B. and Lee, T., Agri-Entrepreneurship in Conflict and Transition Regions, CABI, London, UK, In Press.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

MSc thesis opportunities 2017

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) - directed by Michigan State University in collaboration with Wageningen University and others globally - operates with companies, non governmental organisations and research institutes with the aim of putting into practice the main concepts of our Management Studies Groupentrepreneurship, innovation, governance, strategic management and organisation – to deal with wicked problems affecting agricultural and food systems: poverty, violation of human rights, resource scarcity, waste and climate change among the others.

Given its goal, GCFSI seeks to bridge researchers with managers and leaders in agribusiness & international development practice. To do so, GCFSI provides opportunities for MSc and PhD students enrolled at (or visiting) Wageningen University to engage in stimulating thesis and research projects. Students and faculty staff have the opportunity to give their contribution to disseminate research and improve knowledge on management issues in the context of international development.

MSc thesis 1: Individual competencies, organizational structures and dynamic capabilities for stakeholder orientation in Netherlands

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Renate Wesselink, Dr. Valentina Materia, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

MSc thesis 2: Individual competencies for emerging business models in Malawi

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Renate Wesselink, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

MSc thesis 3: Storage business models and farmers’ seed choices in Ethiopia

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Liesbeth Dries, Dr. Jacques Trienekens, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

If you are interested to learn more about these research topics and GCFSI in general, would like to get involved through a joint research, training or teaching project or would like to organise an event to discuss or disseminate these topics, feel free to contact the Management Studies Group at Wageningen University & Research, the GCFSI or me.