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Knowledge for development : enhancing people's capabilities : a case-study of knowledge management and social entrepreneurship based on a Mexican community experience

González-Hernández, Mario Alain


Mario Alain González-Hernández


Zhichang Zhu

Ashish N. Dwivedi


This thesis presents a case-study based on the academic fields of Development Theory, Knowledge Management and Social Entrepreneurship that portrays the development history of a Mexican rural community (Huixcazdhá) that hosts a food processing company (San Miguel). The analysis uses concepts of human centered development and the Capability approach by Amartya Sen to describe the history of improvement of the wellbeing of people from the community thanks to the presence of the amaranth processing company. It also shows how despite the limitation in resources present in the environment where the business operates, San Miguel may be considered a knowledge creating company under the framework of Nonaka. Finally, it presents the personal history of the social entrepreneur in the establishment of a company with a strong social vision that completely integrates its business operations with the dynamics of the community. The research paradigm that provides light to the study is pragmatism; using case-study as research strategy and an inductive research approach, limitations intrinsic to these elements are discussed and tackled in the methodological design. The data collection stage included on-site observations in the company and community for a period of six months, carrying out thirty in-depth interviews to collect personal views of persons from the community who work in the company, and the analysis of different documents produced by the company, social entrepreneur, and external agents such as the media, government and other institutions. A Computer-Aided Qualitative Analysis Software (NVivo) was used to analyze all data obtained and to give shape to the conclusions drawn from the research.

The main findings obtained in relationship to each of the fields of knowledge considered in the thesis are: In relation to Social Entrepreneurship, the ethical fiber as a personal characteristic of the entrepreneur is a major element that has not received enough attention; additionally the process to develop a social vision that captures a collective purpose with a transformative effect and a widespread reach to create and sustain social value is stressed. Regarding the field of Knowledge Management, the process of adapting the elements of a knowledge-creating firm in a rural environment with major limitations regarding the human and material resources is shown. In the field of Development Theory, a process view where primary assets of a community are turned into an expanded capability set that changes into a choice process to convert it into achieved functionings is introduced. Furthermore, the elements that connect the three fields based on pragmatism is introduced; particularly the spirits of bricolage, phronesis and distributed agency are analyzed and extracted from the empirical evidence as relevant elements in the construction of a successful experience of development.


González-Hernández, M. A. (2016). Knowledge for development : enhancing people's capabilities : a case-study of knowledge management and social entrepreneurship based on a Mexican community experience. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Business
Public URL
Additional Information Business School, The University of Hull
Award Date Apr 1, 2016


Thesis (4.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2016 González-Hernández, Mario Alain. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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