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Transformative Leadership and Contextual Change
 
 
Article

What It Takes to Lead Sustainability Transitions from the Bottom-Up: Strategic Interactions of Grassroots Ecopreneurs

1
Department of Management, School of Economics, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá 110231, Colombia
2
School of Government and International Relations, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá 111711, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2294; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072294
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 3 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leading Sustainability Transitions)
This paper studies features of grassroots ecopreneurs’ leadership in their attempt to ignite transformations in production-consumption systems from the bottom up. It builds on a comprehensive approach of change agency based on institutional work, innovation, and learning intermediation literature. The paper describes grassroots ecopreneurs’ interaction strategies to resource business models for sustainability. Empirical data comes from an action research project that consisted of implementing a sustainability experiment in Sur de Bolívar (Colombia). The experiment shows grassroots ecopreneurs’ arrays of activities around making sense, shaping, securing support, nurturing, expanding, and scaling the value proposition, the business infrastructure, the customer interface and the financial model of their ventures. Our findings suggest that leading businesses transition into a more sustainable field requires grassroots ecopreneurs acting as change agents by performing a diverse array of boundary, practice, and knowledge circulation strategies, aiming at securing the societal and environmental impact of their ventures. Change agency manifests in the ways ecopreneurs maneuver to bring about transformations and strive to sustain it. The study contributes to a better understanding of processes of socio-technical change for sustainability in highly diverse institutional contexts, such as (but not exclusively) the developing world. An agency-based approach is proposed as an alternative to a managerial approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability transitions; grassroots ecopreneurs; grassroots innovations; change agency; sustainability experiments; strategic interaction; knowledge stances; business models for sustainability; developing countries sustainability transitions; grassroots ecopreneurs; grassroots innovations; change agency; sustainability experiments; strategic interaction; knowledge stances; business models for sustainability; developing countries
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ramos-Mejía, M.; Balanzo, A. What It Takes to Lead Sustainability Transitions from the Bottom-Up: Strategic Interactions of Grassroots Ecopreneurs. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2294. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072294

AMA Style

Ramos-Mejía M, Balanzo A. What It Takes to Lead Sustainability Transitions from the Bottom-Up: Strategic Interactions of Grassroots Ecopreneurs. Sustainability. 2018; 10(7):2294. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072294

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ramos-Mejía, Mónica, and Alejandro Balanzo. 2018. "What It Takes to Lead Sustainability Transitions from the Bottom-Up: Strategic Interactions of Grassroots Ecopreneurs" Sustainability 10, no. 7: 2294. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072294

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