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The stories of social entrepreneurs: Narrative discourse and social venture resource acquisition

Philip Roundy (Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




The purpose of this study is to focus on how narratives are used to acquire social venture resources. Social entrepreneurship is a phenomenon of increasing significance. A key challenge for social ventures is resource acquisition. However, how social entrepreneurs gather the resources necessary to grow their organizations is not clear.


This topic is examined using a multi-study, inductive, theory-building design based on 121 interviews, observation and archival data. In Study 1, 75 entrepreneurs, investors and ancillary participants were interviewed in the social enterprise sector. In Study 2, case studies of eight technology-focused social ventures were constructed.


The result of this study is a framework explaining how differences in entrepreneurs’ narrative tactics and characteristics are associated with differences in their resource acquisition success. Specifically, from Study 1, this paper develops a typology of social enterprise narratives, identifies three narrative-types (personal, social-good and business) and shows that they possess unique elements. Evidence from Study 2 suggests that the three narrative-types serve as the building blocks for communication with external stakeholders.


These findings contribute to three studies that formed the basis of the study – social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial resource acquisition and organizational narrative theory – and have implications for work on competing organizational logics. They also produce several practical implications for social entrepreneurs.



This research has been partially supported by the Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.


Roundy, P. (2014), "The stories of social entrepreneurs: Narrative discourse and social venture resource acquisition", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 200-218.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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