Department Research Seminar || SoSe 2021 || Frank DE BAKKER (IÉSEG School of Management)
April 20, 2021 - 01:30 p.m. to 03:00 p.m.
Title: EMANCIPATION THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP: MOBILIZING SOCIAL EMBEDDEDNESS TO COUNTER THE MAFIA
Type: Talk with Q&A
Facilitator: Frank DE BAKKER
Abstract. Scholars have been emphasizing for long the economic advantages entrepreneurs can gain by being embedded in their social context. While most studies looking at social embeddedness and entrepreneurship focus on how social ties and structures facilitate entrepreneurial activity, some also point at how the social context and entrepreneurship influence each other, especially under adverse environmental circumstances. Constraining conditions of social embeddedness have been discussed in terms of negative implications for entrepreneurship but have also been used to contextualize the emancipatory power of entrepreneurship, examining the transformational change that extends to social or institutional spheres. Despite several advancements, a gap still exists in understanding if and how entrepreneurship could retain its emancipatory force when embedded in a social structure that oppresses and severely limits individual agency to act entrepreneurially. Thus, we ask: When social embeddedness is constraining individual freedom to engage in entrepreneurial activity, how does entrepreneurship contribute to overcoming those constraints and changing the social context in which it unfolds? Combining different lenses, we develop a framework for contextualizing the emancipatory role of entrepreneurship and expanding our understanding of its relationship with its embedding social context. We then report on a rich case study of an Italian entrepreneurial venture, GOEL, that operates in an extremely unfavorable social context of oppressive institutionalized (mafia) crime with the objective to alter that unfavorable context through entrepreneurial activity. We thus illustrate our framework and contribute to the literature on social embeddedness and entrepreneurship by providing a better understanding of how both concepts are related. We then contextualize the emancipatory process of entrepreneurial activity and add to the debate on the emancipatory power of entrepreneurship theorizing. Creating and disseminating a shared image of a liberated community, supported by proof of success and pragmatic non-violent social action, challenges the historically-rooted and mafia-oriented social structure and enables the capacities of both the entrepreneurs and the community members to drive change.
Speaker. Frank G.A. de Bakker is a full professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at IÉSEG School of Management and a member of the research laboratory Lille Economics Management (LEM-CNRS 9221) in Lille, France. He coordinates the IÉSEG Centre for Organizational Responsibility (ICOR). De Bakker received his PhD from the University of Twente, the Netherlands. In his research he examines the role of CSR managers within firms and the interactions between activists and firms on issues of corporate social responsibility. Since 2017 he is a co-editor of Business & Society and he sits on several editorial boards. His work has been published in journals like Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Discoveries, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies and many more. Twitter: @frankdebakker