Toward Improving Impact of Sustainable Ventures in Developing Countries: A Structuration View

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Business Strategy and Development

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Evidence shows that low‐income and developing countries disproportionately bear the negative impacts of unsustainable business practice and are the least able to withstand these impacts. There is an urgent need to address these problems as prospects for economic development are inexorably linked to the consequences of environmental degradation and negative social impact. As global awareness of this phenomenon has risen, the attractiveness of firms that take a balanced approach between pecuniary outcomes and sustainable practices has increased. Firms are under pressure to reduce the negative externalities they generate and increase positive externalities. An approach that increases the attractiveness and effectiveness of sustainable ventures can help firms get closer to this goal. We use structuration theory to develop strategy recommendations toward this goal. Structuration theory recognizes the duality of agency and structure, and provides a framework for understanding social phenomena at a meso‐level of analysis. The theory describes three structural configurations that have varying levels of influence in social settings. We build upon this theory to argue that the success of sustainable ventures is affected by the degree to which their actions cohere with the strongest social structures operating in their regions. We illustrate our theoretical argument by describing how three sustainable tourism ventures in Central America and three organic foods ventures in Southeast Asia are co‐creating social structures that result in positive externalities.


© 2020 ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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