Social and Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Volume 13


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

From its earliest incarnations, entrepreneurship has been linked to innovation, and often innovations with a societal or social impact. Although classical economists discussed the role entrepreneurs play in handling risk in an economy (Hébert & Link, 2009), perhaps the greater risks have been the social impacts which entrepreneurship brought to societies (Drucker, 1985). The power of mercantile economies like the Phoenician or two thousand years later the British came as much from the new ideas and processes they introduced to the societies of trading partners as from the goods traded.

Social entrepreneurship is primarily concerned with the development of innovative solutions to society's most challenging problems. Since social entrepreneurship flourishes in resource-constrained environments, social innovation may depend on the extent to which social entrepreneurs can combine and apply the resources at hand in creative and useful ways to solve problems – “bricolage.” Moreover, innovating for social impact relies on a set of institutional and structural supports – “innovation ecology,' which can facilitate or impede innovation. Our research empirically examines these variables as drivers of systemic social change through scaling and replication – “catalytic innovation” (i.e., the development of products and services targeted to unserved markets). Results of a survey conducted with 113 social entrepreneurs indicate that, while innovation ecology is associated with the degree of catalytic innovation, it is mediated by the role and degree of bricolage that social entrepreneurs bring to solving problems. These findings reinforce the role of entrepreneurs as the indispensable agents of social change.

To identify what scholars consider to be important and interesting for future research in social entrepreneurship (SE), this chapter analyzes 248 SE papers and generated 327 topics for future research. From these 327 topics, a modified Delphi process generated 27 underlying themes. Subject matter experts were surveyed as to how interesting each research topic is and the extent to which the topics lend themselves to theoretical or empirical development; this assessment was also used to calculate aggregate scores for each theme. In this chapter, we present all research topics that scored at or above 2.5 on a 5-point scale for both questions. We discuss the implications of both the method and the results of the study.

This study builds on an existing framework for hybrid ventures, those that emphasize both social and economic goals and outcomes. We examine the relationship between human capital characteristics and hybrid ventures. The sample is drawn from the 2008 and 2009 US Global Entrepreneurship Monitor dataset. Our findings suggest that start-up traditional ventures are characterized by entrepreneurs with previous work experience, that females are more likely to lead an established hybrid venture, and that there is a u-shaped relationship with regard to age in start-up hybrid ventures. The findings also suggest that all entrepreneurial ventures exhibit some degree of hybridness.

The chapter aims to enhance our understanding of “opportunity” in the context of social entrepreneurship through a paradigm interplay juxtaposing a functionalist thematic analysis and interpretivist sensemaking. This paradigmatic contrasting identifies differences and connections in the tensions of: linearity and simplicity/dynamism and complexity; forward/backward, generalizability/situated relationality, and value-laden/value-neutral. These contrasts deepen our understanding of “opportunity” so that the theoretical and practical implications can be seen.

Social entrepreneurship is gaining attention as a valid field for academic inquiry and a useful tool for funding a social mission and driving social change. As they are assimilated, innovative mechanisms and practices often require a new vocabulary and context to support precision in communication and clarity in analysis. This chapter takes a step toward merging previously disparate fields that may need to be aligned to help the advancement of social entrepreneurship and offers a neologism to describe this process. Primarily, it proposes that the real value of social entrepreneurship is an advancement in non-violent social change.

This chapter develops a model and provides an exemplary case study of social intrapreneurship within a for-profit organization. The model has two components. The first looks at the antecedent conditions enabling social intrapreneurship, identifying three deinstitutionalizing mechanisms that ready a traditional for-profit organization to embrace a social enterprise: (1) changes in extra-organizational environment that disconnect sanctions and rewards; (2) disassociating existing institutional norms and practices from their mooring in a moral foundation; and (3) undermining core assumptions and beliefs. The second component of the model suggests that the social intrapreneurship process unfolds in four phases associated: (1) socialization (conception of social enterprise idea), (2) externalization (development), (3) integration (implementation), and (4) the internalization (institutionalization). We use the model as a lens to examine the history and development of the First Community Bank in Boston and end with a discussion of the implications of our research for theory and practice.

In this chapter, I attempt to explain the diverse nature of social enterprise education in higher education and review the content, placement, and pedagogy of various programs of study with distinctly different approaches. I see the approaches to social enterprise education falling into three different categories that I call accommodating, integrating, and immersion. The differences are explained by the problem of the familiar: the attempt to define the field in terms of the existing economic and entrepreneurial theories alone. Building on work of others I offer a new framework for understanding social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in the form of propositions that may be empirically tested and potentially could be helpful in developing consistent models for social enterprise education. These propositions are concerned with social benefits or outcomes, agency and firm, scale, and sustainable funding.

In this chapter, we review and examine the differences and similarities between social, sustainable, and environmental entrepreneurship. We explore the concepts, key questions, empirical methodologies, and disciplinary roots that differentiate and relate these emergent interest areas. The result of this comparative analysis inevitably raises the question of whether these new literature streams are inclusive or separate from the traditional domain of entrepreneurship research. We find that these three areas share many similarities, yet are distinguishable from one another and from more traditional, commercial forms of entrepreneurship. However, we determine that although these three areas of entrepreneurial scholarship raise unique questions and highlight different types of phenomena, they are not their own fields of study, but rather promising contexts for studying key questions of the entrepreneurship field.

Most academic work on sustainability has been focused on the organizational level, reflecting the popular “business case for sustainability” idea. However, organizations are certainly not the only locus of entrepreneurial action for sustainability, nor are they the most ideal. This chapter reports on a six-year study of the Sustainability Consortium, a collaboration started in 1999 between large companies that were seeking to lead their industry through innovative initiatives for sustainability. The findings, based on 60 interviews and many other sources of data, identify eight “ecologies of entrepreneurial action,” all of which were critical for driving change. These ecologies are: Individual Aspiration; Network Affiliation; Process Optimization; Entrepreneurial Innovation; Value Chain Collaboration; Industry/Sector Coordination; System-Wide Integration; and Social Transformation. As shown by complexity theory, the interdependent and interconnected nature of these ecologies means that only by expanding beyond organizationally focused endeavors can we help generate the social transformation that will lead to a sustainable world.

If we are to better understand what it means to think “sustainably,” the entrepreneurship literature suggests that entrepreneurial cognition offers us two powerful tools. Human cognition operates with two nearly parallel systems for information processing, intentional and automatic. Entrepreneurial cognition has long focused on how entrepreneurial thinking and action are inherently intentional. Thus, intentions-based approaches are needed to understand how to encourage the identification of actionable sustainable opportunities. But first, however, we need to address key elements of our automatic processing, anchored on deep assumptions and beliefs. In short, if sustainable entrepreneurship is about addressing sustainable opportunities, then before we can take advantage of research into entrepreneurial intentions, we need a better understanding of how we enact our deep mental models of constructs such as “sustainable.”

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Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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