Sean Coutts, University of Toronto


    About Sean

    Sean has the unconventional background of Western philosophy, Canadian banking and organizational leadership – embodying the tools of business discourse and the desire to create social benefit, with the ability to operationalize both. He is the founder of a hybrid, third-sector organization operating a non-profit core to govern responsible, for-profit nodes. He is undertaking an Educational Administration doctoral degree at the University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).


    PhD project

    Growing Local Resistance: cultivating pluralized spaces of public dialogue


    My research interest investigates organizational structures that restrict individuals and disengage corporations and organisations from the communities and individuals they serve. I am particularity interested in the factors which can be deployed to combat the distortion of communication and enhance civic engagement and find new ways of integrating organisations with local communities. I am presently exploring how grassroots organizations can act as local sites to resist the immobilizing ideology of economic fatalism and re-humanize the social sphere.

    In demonstration of my commitment to address social issues and affect positive social change, I founded the Social Entrepreneur Launch Factor, which is an emerging organization that supports the expansion and deepening of the social sector by directly supporting individuals to launch their social mission initiative. SELF has the mandate to contribute positively to social change and develop innovative ways to generate revenue. The Tragedy of the Commons forms the basis for addressing the dilemma between individual financial benefit and collective civic engagement.



    Prof. Dr. James Ryan, University of Toronto / OISE


    Publications and conferences



    “Social Perception: common perspectives of social action”, Paper presented at the OISE Annual Dean’s Graduate Student Research Conference, Toronto, Canada, 2009

    “Growing Local Resistance: cultivating public dialogue”, Presentation at the Transatlantic Doctoral Academy for Corporate Responsibility, Montreal, Canada, 2008

    “Common Perspective: perceptions of the Commons”, Paper presented at the Laurel Centre Annual Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, Guelph, ON, Canada, 2008

    “Interrogating Mindfulness”, Panel presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vancouver, Canada, 2008

    “How can Educational Leaders Engage Community Members?”, Paper presented at the OISE Annual Dean’s Graduate Student Research Conference, Toronto, Canada, 2008



    sean.coutts [at] doctoral-academy [dot] net