Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Timothy G. Pollock, David Gras
Anne Smith, Kisha Lashley
The past decade has been marked by widespread social movements. While we know a great deal about how large public firms are affected by social movements, we know little about how entrepreneurs process social movements’ pressures and decide whether or not to take action, along with the eventual consequences for their businesses. In the first essay, I theorize about the connections between social movements and social entrepreneurship, focusing on how social movements encourage entrepreneurs to use their vehicles as firms to solve social problems. This paper lays a foundation to understand how social movements serve as catalysts for social entrepreneurship and the associated organizational and field implications. In my second essay, I ask the question: Whether, how, and why do entrepreneurs react to the social movements’ spillover effects, and with what consequences to their businesses? Through a qualitative study, I study how the racial justice movement has spilled into in the fiber craft industry (e.g., knitting and crochet pattern designers, yarn dyers, yarn shop owners, content creators), largely centering the experiences of Black business owners. I find that social movements prompt entrepreneurs to reconsider their personal and relational identities which results in a change of stakeholder relationships and diverse personal and business outcomes. My findings provide valuable insight into how entrepreneurs—particularly those who share an identity with a social movement—respond to social movement spillover effects. Small and young businesses numbering in the tens of millions are making strategic choices for their businesses in the wake of mass social movements. These decisions have important implications for the survivability and success of their firm. I seek to build theories at the intersection of social movements and social entrepreneurship, and to inform young and small business owners, social movement organizations, and community stakeholders about the broad reaching effects social movements have in many corners of the market.
Beorchia, Adrian M., "Riding the Wave: How Entrepreneurs Respond to Social Movements’ Indirect Spillover Effects. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2023.
Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2026