Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Winter 12-7-2021


Social entrepreneurship has been identified as a solution to some of the world’s most pressing problems, including health, education, and environmental issues. Despite the rise in literature about social entrepreneurship, there is still a lack of understanding how place-based social entrepreneurship is being conceived and experienced by practitioners. Therefore, this study uses a phenomenographic approach to understand what social entrepreneurship means to change agents in New Mexico, a place characterized by social and economic challenges, as well as an abundance of natural and cultural resources. The findings revealed five distinct categories of description for social entrepreneurship including: Category 1. No Definition; Category 2. Variety of Structures; Category 3a. Mission and Values Oriented Initiatives; Category 3b. Addressing Needs and Problems; and Category 4. Building Sustainable Communities. Findings also revealed place-based insights for social entrepreneurship in New Mexico. Implications for research, teaching, and practitioners, and future research directions are discussed.

Degree Name

Organization, Information and Learning Sciences

Level of Degree


First Committee Member (Chair)

Mark Emmons

Second Committee Member

Frances Wilkinson

Third Committee Member

Dante Di Gregorio

Fourth Committee Member

Wellington Spetic




Social entrepreneurship, phenomenography, New Mexico, community, culture, place-based

Document Type