Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises


Tom Lumpkin

Second Advisor

Todd Moss


Environmental Sustainability, Institutional Entrepreneurship, New Venture Creation

Subject Categories



The purpose of this dissertation is to facilitate a better understanding of the relationship between entrepreneurship and attainment of sustainable development. Drawing on prior work, I present three related essays that together provide both an evaluation and extension of research at the intersection of the entrepreneurship and sustainable development concepts – herein referred to as the Sustainability-Entrepreneurship Nexus. In addition, the findings from these essays provide some interesting research opportunities for management and entrepreneurship scholars alike.

Essay 1 provides a literature review of extant research within the S-E Nexus. Focusing on the composition of conceptual and empirical articles, and the outcomes of sustainability-oriented entrepreneurial activity researched by scholars, this review proved more comprehensive in comparison to prior related reviews. The findings from this essay speak mainly to the underdeveloped state of empirical research within the S-E Nexus – especially regarding institutional- and multi-level entrepreneurship research. Armed with these findings, I conclude this essay with some potential research areas based on societal ‘grand challenges’ for management scholars.

Essay 2 is an empirical study that looks into the antecedent factors posited to affect institutional entrepreneurship for sustainable development. Specifically, it examines whether and to what extent different dimensions of the institutional context, in addition to a long-term oriented culture, affect the emergence of institutional entrepreneurship for sustainable development in the form of adoption of a global environmental initiative. The results of this study highlight the importance of strong regulatory frameworks and a long-term orientation in encouraging sustainability-oriented entrepreneurial action amongst influential institutional actors such as politicians and other country representatives.

Essay 3 uses extant literature to reframe climate change adaptation as representative of acts of institutional entrepreneurship. This reframing facilitated subsequent examination of how two forms of climate change adaptation – planned and autonomous – affected individual new venture creation. The study also accounts for the role of corruption as a moderator to the posited climate change adaptation-new venture creation relationship. Results based on multi-level analyses suggest that both planned and autonomous climate change adaptation positively influence individual new venture creation – the latter having a stronger effect. The results also suggest that corruption moderates the positive relationship between both planned and autonomous climate change adaptation and individual new venture creation.

All told, this dissertation provides scholars with updated insights to the Sustainability-Entrepreneurship Nexus. This is especially as it relates to avenues for research within the nexus; the role played by institutions and temporality in sustainability-oriented action amongst actors; and, the positive benefits to entrepreneurship to be had from greater instances of climate change adaptation.


Open Access

Included in

Business Commons