The research process of understanding biographical learning processes of sustainability entrepreneurs

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksContributions to collected editions/anthologiesResearchpeer-review


  • Jana-Michaela Timm
Context for the research – In politics, in education for sustainable development and now also in economics and business education itself it is argued that change agents are urgently needed for the transformation towards sustainable development. But who are these change agents? And an essential question in the educational context is: How have they become change agents? In this research, Sustainability Entrepreneurs are understood as change agents that are the ones advancing change, particularly in the private sector. To learn more about their development path this study focuses on their biography.
Aim or purpose of the research – In order to find out more about how Sustainability Entrepreneurs have become change agents, it is the present study’s aim to understand their individual development, understood as Biographical Learning Processes.
Research design – Accordingly, this study is designed in the “paradigm of understanding”, which is underpinned by an action-theoretical understanding of sustainability entrepreneurship. The biographic-narrative interview has been used as data collection method. As a method of analysis biographical case reconstruction has been made use of.
Key findings – First typologies of Biographical Learning Processes of Sustainability Entrepreneurs are emerging in the ongoing research process. Despite all the differences these show some similarities.
Implications for the future research – It remains to investigate whether these typologies and similarities can be found with other change agents in these or in similar forms. Further research will elaborate the first theoretical conclusions of this work in order to determine reliable conclusions that in turn may lead to generalizable statements. Only then can research towards practiceoriented
“translation” of these learning processes into teaching and learning settings be proposed for higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development
EditorsMatthias Barth, Gerd Michelsen, Marco Rieckmann, Ian Thomas
Number of pages13
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Publishers
Publication date2016
Article number26
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-72730-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-85224-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016