Vincent Blok

Joined: August 2015
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Vincent Blok is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Responsible Innovation at the Management Studies Chair Group, Wageningen University (The Netherlands). He is also a research fellow affiliated with the faculty of philosophy at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). From 2002 to 2006, Blok held various management positions in the health care sector. In 2006 he became director of the Louis Bolk Institute, an international research institute in the field of organic and sustainable agriculture, nutrition and health care. In 2005 he received his PhD degree in philosophy at Leiden University, with a specialisation in the philosophy of technology.  

Together with 7 PhDs and 2 Post-docs, Blok pursues three lines of research - Business Ethical Issues in Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Business Models for Sustainability, and Industrial Responsible Innovation – in several (European) research projects. Blok’s work has appeared in publications including Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Cleaner Production, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development and Journal of Responsible Innovation.

Your personal motive

Throughout my life, I have been socially engaged and involved in social and environmental issues. When I was younger, I used to be quite sceptical about the contribution of corporations and entrepreneurs to the transition towards a more sustainable society, I increasingly realised that the involvement of companies is a precondition for making this transition happen and, moreover, that sustainable and social entrepreneurs can contribute to this transition. In my research and other projects, I am especially interest in the role of business in society and the role of entrepreneurs in social, sustainable and responsible innovation. However, in contrast to scholars who assume a straightforward balance or win-win situation as regards socio-environmental and economic interests within a company, the point of departure for my research is the ‘moral schizophrenia’ of entrepreneurs. This raises the question of how entrepreneurs can deal with the structural tensions between economic and social-ethical interests, and how responsible innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship can be achieved in practice. Because most of the current research in this field is unilaterally oriented on either the socio-ethical or the business perspective, my ambition is to integrate both perspectives, focusing on the actual (non)sustainable or (un)ethical behaviour of entrepreneurs and the normative question of how companies should behave. In this respect, I pursue three lines of work in my research:

  • Business Ethical Issues in Sustainable Entrepreneurship

  • Business Models for Sustainability

  • Responsible Innovation in the Business Context