Lisa Jones Christensen researches and teaches entrepreneurship, innovation, change management, metrics and leadership. Her subspecialties focus on microenterprise development including innovations in microfinance, micro-insurance and microfranchising.
Dr. Jones Christensen’s research focuses on the sustainable ways that entrepreneurs create value and sustain motivation in conditions of market failure. She looks at individual and group-level commitment to change in order to better understand how to foster positive social and environmental outcomes.
Her current research projects focus on how managers define and enact sustainable business practices in privately held firms. She is working with a Kenyan microfinance institution to analyze its migration to eco-tourism for its sustainable housing initiatives; developing a microfranchising database; and analyzing data on the market response to innovations in household water purification products in Malawi.
She is a faculty advisor to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise where she oversees its work on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries or “base of the pyramid” contexts. She is the faculty lead for Global STAR programs (Student Teams Achieving Results) and co-founded the ground-breaking “Design Thinking and Sustainable Enterprise” immersion course for MBA students. She also serves as the dean’s advisor on African issues, and as the faculty sponsor of the African Business Association and the Carolina Microfinance Initiative.
The Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business Ethics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Journal of Business Research, Business and Society and Academy of Management have published her research. She is the author of several award-winning cases, primarily focused on sustainable enterprises in developing countries.
She worked for nearly 10 years in marketing and sales at Silicon Valley startup firms, and in non-profit management. She co-founded H.E.L.P. Honduras (now HELP-International), a nonprofit originally focused on post-disaster relief and microfinance work in Honduras, which now emphasizes economic self-reliance and microfinance principles in developing economies such as Peru, El Salvador, Venezuela, Uganda, Fiji, Belize, India and Thailand. She sits on its board.
Dr. Jones Christensen has consulted with public- and private-sector firms, including SJF Ventures, Johnson & Johnson, BST Consulting, Earthbound Farms, Sustainable Harvest, Pioneer Hi-Bred (DuPont), Procter & Gamble, UNC Hospitals, Acumen Fund, Duke Energy, Weaver Street, International Labor Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development and Papa John’s Pizza.
She received her PhD in organizational behavior from UNC Kenan-Flagler, her MBA from the Marriott School and MA in international development from the David Kennedy School, both at Brigham Young University; and her BA from the University of California at Berkeley.