Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Aachey Susan Jurow

Second Advisor

Margaret Eisenhart

Third Advisor

Kris Gutierrez

Fourth Advisor

Richard Wobbekind

Fifth Advisor

Kevin O'Connor


All too often conversations about education and learning assume that we know what learning is, how it happens, and to what ends the process should be directed. Learning, in this case, was not confined to classroom activities, but happened as students reorganized material and ideational tools to across settings to create new opportunities for emerging expertise. Designing for learning where the end goals are well defined is challenging enough. But, how do we design for learning if the end goal is to solve problems where solutions do not yet exist? Little is known about the process of organizing for innovation to address pressing global issues.

The study this multi-sited ethnography exploring how participation in a student-run club focused around sustainability affects the development of MBA students’ knowledge, skills, and identities as business professionals. And importantly, how do participants learn as part of the NI network? Learning occurs across contexts in distributed networks of social practice (Nespor, 1997; Eisenhart, 2001; Jurow, 2009). As such, this study is designed to see a group of MBA students navigate business school and at the same time affect changes in the way business is conducted. Using social-cultural theories of learning with an emphasis on networked activity, movement across sites allowed students to explore contentious environments and create small innovations to reorient sustainable business practices.