Building Sustainable Rural Communities through Indigenous Social Enterprises: A Humanistic Approach

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This article follows a humanistic management approach to analyze how indigenous social enterprises contribute to building sustainable rural communities. To this end, I first explore the process of how these entities were formed and developed the necessary capabilities to generate such outcomes. Then, I examine the strategies indigenous social enterprises create to engage in value creation activities with the community and their main outcomes. Such outcomes are finally classified by the problems they addressed according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), since one of the gaps in the literature indicates a lack of studies that relate specific SDGs with the outcomes of social enterprises in developing countries. This article follows a qualitative approach, a case study research strategy, and uses semi-structured interviews as the main data collection instrument. Evidence from four cases of indigenous social enterprises in Latin America suggests that these entities originate as a result of a major crisis that affects the dignity of the individuals and compromises the socio-economic dynamics of the communities. Second, local leadership urges a response that takes the form of a social enterprise that follows local principles and governance and pursues dignity protection, sustainability, and cultural reaffirmation. As a result, the communities have increased their levels of well-being and sustainability, linked to SDGs such as good health, decent work, reduced inequalities, public infrastructure, sustainable communities, and partnerships for the goals. This article also sheds light on how a humanistic management approach can contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of social enterprises, as these humanistic principles and practices seem to be naturally promoted by social entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9643
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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