The return of the Jedi in entrepreneurship?! Developing a validated competence framework for sustainable entrepreneurship and exploring the specific role of moral competencies in the sustainable entrepreneurial process

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Although the importance of competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship is recognized both from practical and theoretical point of view, the field of competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship is relatively young. The aim of this dissertation is therefore to contribute to the understanding of what competencies constitute a competence framework for sustainable entrepreneurship and how these competencies are enacted in entrepreneurial decision making processes. The main research question: What role do competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship play in sustainable entrepreneurial processes? addresses the aim and research issues of this dissertation. In addition, five sub-research questions were formulated:

1. What is the empirical strength of the existing key competence frameworks for sustainable entrepreneurship?

2. How do key competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship relate to well-known antecedents for entrepreneurial behavior?

3. Which individual moral antecedents play a role in the entrepreneurial process of opportunity recognition for sustainable development?

4. How is moral competence enacted in the early stage of the sustainable entrepreneurial process?

5. How are competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship enacted within the decision making process of sustainable entrepreneurs?

The competence framework is assessed on its validity in an educational context, reporting on the self-perceived scores of 402 respondents. Furthermore, a performance based assessment was developed to study the relation between the competence framework and opportunity recognition. Here, 96 respondents participated in an online platform that formed the foundation for the performance based assessment. Finally, 33 sustainable entrepreneurs were interviewed to assess the enactment of the competencies in actual decision making processes.

The different studies and sub-questions have mounted up to some main conclusions. The results show that the competencies can be operationalised and measured in a reliable and valid way in a framework consisting of 6 distinct competencies (diversity competence, systems thinking competence, foresighted thinking competence, interpersonal competence, normative competence and strategic action competence). When it comes to the opportunity recognition process, it becomes clear that the competencies that tap into values (i.e. normative competence and strategic action competence) are very important and could be seen as distinctive for sustainable entrepreneurs. During the different critical moments in the decision making process, some competencies surface more than others, which show the dynamic and context dependent character of the competencies. This dissertation has, besides several theoretical implications, implications for higher education institutions and sustainable start-up companies.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Omta, Onno, Promotor
  • Blok, Vincent, Co-promotor
  • Lans, T., Co-promotor
Award date24 Jan 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789463432238
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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