Friday, May 5, 2017

Prosocial organising workshop

This workshop organised around a Journal of Business Venturing special issue at Ivey Business School, London (Ontario), was by far the biggest (work-related) surprise of my April.

I went there really worried and came back really uplifted. I wish workshops were always like that.

Prosocial organising? Do we really need another fairly difficult concept out there? Does it help us to understand what entrepreneurship is, how does it take place and evolves over time? How does it contribute informing entrepreneurs on how to tackle social problems and develop visions for a thriving change for our neighbourhoods, communities and other systems we are embedded in?

Well, it seems it does... During the workshop I had at least three epiphanies:

  1. Prosocial motivations and behaviours have specific and well-defined meanings, that is, having concern for others and voluntary practices intended to benefit others. And the study of organising processes around prosociality is at least old as I am (Brief and Motowidlo 1986);
  2. There is still a knowledge gap on how prosocial organising relates to processes of integrating competing values in organisations, interplays with other existing institutions (families, communities, laws, markets) and contributes to achieve impact in society. 
  3. Prosocial organising is actually a concrete thing. It was humbling to live and touch the experiences of great people - an international kayak champion, a laundry social entrepreneur, a entrepreneur cutting across construction and toy business, and a youth empowerment social entrepreneurs. Their life stories were incredibly touching.

Perhaps the most uplifting thing for me was to see the workshop organisers and my fellow participants enacting - what I understood so far of - prosocial organising.

This really helped my co-authors and me in seeing our enormous dataset and long experience with food and energy consumer communities in a new and more nuanced light.

Thank you. These things make academia beautiful and do have lots of unexpected spillovers.

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