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‘Social’ value creation as care: the perspective of beneficiaries in social entrepreneurship

Diana Lorenzo-Afable (Department of Management, Auckland University of Technology School of Business, Auckland, New Zealand)
Marjolein Lips-Wiersma (Department of Management, Auckland University of Technology School of Business, Auckland, New Zealand)
Smita Singh (Department of International Business, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Auckland University of Technology School of Business, Auckland, New Zealand)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 7 July 2020

Issue publication date: 19 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to characterise the “social” in social entrepreneurship (SE) by examining social value creation (SVC) from the perspective of vulnerable beneficiaries within a developing country context. It uses the lens of care ethics to garner insights into SVC based on what beneficiaries care about in their work engagement with social enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The exploratory paper implements a multiple case study approach to theory building, which considers the rich, real-life developing country context wherein much SVC occurs. Data collection primarily uses in-depth interviews with beneficiaries in accordance with socially sensitive research methodologies involving vulnerable participants.

Findings

The findings offer an ethical view of SVC that is premised on what is of value to beneficiaries in SE. The authors find that SVC is a multi-dimensional and reciprocal process that is shaped as beneficiaries work for social enterprises. The reciprocal nature of the process engenders beneficiary altruism, which may heighten vulnerability and lead to the dark side of SE.

Social implications

Many of the problems SE tries to address are situated in developing countries. The findings may enable social entrepreneurs, policymakers and social enterprise organisations to develop more responsive and more impactful solutions to social problems in developing countries. They further suggest that beneficiaries must not be looked upon merely as passive recipients of value but as active participants in the SVC process.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to critical SE discourse by giving voice to beneficiaries in SE.

Keywords

Citation

Lorenzo-Afable, D., Lips-Wiersma, M. and Singh, S. (2020), "‘Social’ value creation as care: the perspective of beneficiaries in social entrepreneurship", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 339-360. https://doi.org/10.1108/SEJ-11-2019-0082

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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