Social Ontology and the Emergent Moment: A Theoretical and Action Research Inquiry into Rural Microenterprise Development

  • T. B. Porter (2014). Systemic Practice and Action Research (Springer New York LLC)
  • Abstract: Internal beliefs about the nature of social reality have been less examined in relation to new business development through microentrepreneurship than have tangible factors such as access to capital, business training, and social support. In this paper we present a view based in social ontology and suggest that regimes of internally consistent assumptions about the nature of the world are actualized through the entrepreneurs approach to his/her emerging business. Though social ontology is often addressed at the macro, philosophical level, we define it in micro, phenomenological terms as the actors sense of being-in-the-world, which in turn conditions his/her perceived resources, strategic options, and approach to stakeholders. Theoretically we develop three social ontologiesdualist, interpretive, and complex systemsand we then examine empirical evidence from an action research study as expressive of these ontologies in practice. Action research is an ideal methodology for our study because it permits a tight focus on the actors point of view in relation to his/her visible practice. Our results suggest that social ontology may indeed play a part in microentrepreneurial development, adding to but not replacing traditional resources for business success. In our concluding discussion of implications for practice and further research, we suggest that social ontologies are learned and habitual, and therefore that they may be recognized and potentially transcended when other ontologies offer new inroads that may not have been visible in a previous regime. 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York
  • Theme: Perceptions and attitudes
  • Keywords: Action research, Complex systems, Complexity theory, Microenterprise, Microentrepreneurship, Microprocess, Social ontology
  • Reference type: Journal Article
  • Geographic location: United States, North AMerica, Global North
  • Quality:
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