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Review of Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Edited by Paula Kyrö
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
2016 (English)In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866Article, book review (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Entrepreneurship studies is advancing with the increased belief in the possibility of improving society and the environment via a reformation of entrepreneurship. The Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development follows up on this quest of merging the economic, the social and the environmental into one all-embracing unit of positive outcomes. In this review, I will first give a broad overview and brief comparisons of how the various authors turn to new forms of entrepreneurship, and conclude with a critical reading of the book’s implicit and explicit promises of betterments of the world.


The handbook generally criticizes exploitation and the environmental degradation conventional entrepreneurship has left us dependent upon, where after the authors launch new forms of entrepreneurship as improved alternatives to an errant past. Social, green and sustainable entrepreneurship, which have flourished since 2008, are presented in the book not only as solutions to rectifying wrongdoings in progress, but also as means to facilitate a general governing of populations for an optimization of biospheric vitality. The reader is offered a consensus about the unfortunate fact that entrepreneurship has been disregarded within developing contexts, whereby the book reforms entrepreneurship into a transferable sustainable development programme to be disseminated to reach beyond territorial borders. First and foremost, the book is thus a relevant read for scholars who are interested in broadening the normative perspectives on entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to how enterprising activities can coalesce with other political targets.


The editor, Paula Kyrö, pedagogically introduces the reader to the book by emphasising that the social sciences produce reality. She continues in chapter one to ask the pressing question: ‘To grow or not to grow’? [3]. Her ambition is to produce a new agenda for economy and welfare by unearthing the historic separation of Nature and the human being in different economic schools of thought. Whilst entrepreneurship became human- centred, Nature was left to ecological economics. The separation between human and Nature left a wound the book now seeks to heal, by taking both the human being and Nature into consideration for an advancement of entrepreneurship within sustainable development. All chapters in the book engage the reader in this healing process and successfully fulfil  the ambitions introduced in the introduction.


The book consequently repositions entrepreneurship as ‘a strong belief in human agency’ [147] by merging it with an advancement of Western development agendas, to make ‘the world a better place for everyone’ [363] through entrepreneurs with a ‘desire for helping others’ [203]. This wedding of humanistic ideals with entrepreneurship is never problematized. Rather, it is repeatedly stressed that new forms of entrepreneurship can function as a way to create change, govern others more effectively, implement democratic as well as commercialization processes, and sustain better ways of living in the long run. Tellingly for this sort of agenda setting, a majority of the authors who further the entrepreneurship-sustainable development agenda hold positions in Europe. With one exception, the remaining authors are in Anglo-Saxon countries. Only three out of 45 are not scholars in business/management/economics, which makes the contributions highly aligned with enterprising-oriented trajectories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Engineering and Technology Social Sciences
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303889OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303889DiVA: diva2:974432
Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-26 Last updated: 2016-09-30

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