Social Entrepreneurship and Research Methods: Volume 9

Subject:

Table of contents

(16 chapters)
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Introduction

Pages xi-xiii
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Purpose

The purpose is to assess current construct measurement in social entrepreneurship and provide recommendations for future construct measurement on the topic.

Methodology/design

We use content analysis to assess the construct measurement practices in social entrepreneurship research. Prior studies were coded and analyzed to assess the way social entrepreneurship researchers have developed measures for key constructs in the social entrepreneurship literature. The content analysis allows for the examination of the number, type, and measures associated with social entrepreneurship research and for the comparison with the construct measurement practices in entrepreneurship research, in general.

Findings

We suggest that, while initial quantitative research has provided a useful start for empirical analysis of social entrepreneurship, future research can be improved by developing and applying stronger measures of key constructs, such as social value, mission consistency, and performance of social enterprises.

Originality/value

This chapter takes a content analytic approach to provide evidence regarding how a foundational element such as construct measurement has developed within social entrepreneurship research. We also propose directions for improving future research by validating and strengthening measurements of core constructs in social entrepreneurship.

Purpose

Social entrepreneurs often make public appeals for funding to investors who are motivated by nonfinancial considerations. This emerging research context is an opportunity for researchers to expand the bounds of entrepreneurship theory. To do so, we require appropriate research tools. In this chapter, we show how computer-aided text analysis (CATA) can be applied to advance social entrepreneurship research. We demonstrate how CATA is well suited to analyze the public appeals for resources made by entrepreneurs, provide insight into the rationale of social lenders, and overcome challenges associated with traditional survey methods.

Method

We illustrate the advantages of CATA by examining how charismatic language in 13,000 entrepreneurial narratives provided by entrepreneurs in developing countries influences funding speed from social lenders. CATA is used to assess the eight dimensions of charismatic rhetoric.

Findings

We find that four of the dimensions of charismatic rhetoric examined were important in predicting funding outcomes for entrepreneurs.

Implications

Data collection and sample size are important challenges facing social entrepreneurship research. This chapter demonstrates how CATA techniques can be used to collect valuable data and increase sample size. This chapter also examines how the rhetoric used by entrepreneurs impacts their fundraising efforts.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the current prevalence of empirical research in the field of social entrepreneurship. Further, we identify secondary datasets and explain their relative strengths and weaknesses for use by social entrepreneurship scholars.

Methods

The authors conducted a search of academic articles in the EBSCO and ProQuest databases mentioning social entrepreneurship, social venture(s), social enterprise(s), or social entrepreneur(s) in the title, abstract, or keywords published from 2009 to 2013. Papers were coded and analyzed based upon the nature of their methods.

Findings

We find that while qualitative studies are still the norm, quantitative methods are increasing, thanks to the creation of large-scale datasets and the use of analysis techniques new to the field. Three such large-scale datasets – the PSED II, GEM, and nonprofit tax collections – are discussed in depth. We find several strengths and weaknesses for each dataset, yet each provides social entrepreneurship scholars with fruitful opportunities.

Value of chapter

Through a deeper understanding of empirical research and sources of social entrepreneurship data, scholars may be more attracted to social entrepreneurship, better equipped to conduct high-quality research and publish in high-quality outlets. Moreover, by moving beyond case studies and small-sample research to engaging larger pools of subjects and producing more generalizable findings, social entrepreneurship scholars will have the ability to impact a much broader scope of practitioners.

Purpose

In this chapter, I develop a theoretical framework to address the financial–social performance debate in strategy research, drawing on literatures on institutional logics and organizational forms.

Methodology/design

I test the theoretical framework using an exploratory empirical approach based on ideal types with global microfinance data. A joint consideration of financial and social performances of microfinance organizations (MFOs) helps classify them into four ideal types – self-sustainable, mission-drifting, failing, and subsidized. I examine how an MFO’s organizational form and the configurations of institutional logics of the nation within which it is embedded jointly explain which ideal type the MFO falls into.

Findings

Based on a study of 1455 MFOs in 98 countries between 1995 and 2007, I show that the interactions between national institutional logics and organizational forms add significant predicting power in estimating MFOs’ ideal types. Explaining the intricate relationships between the financial and social performance of MFOs thus requires a simultaneous consideration of both the configuration of national logics and organizational forms.

Originality/value

The theoretical framework introduced in this chapter builds on recent developments in the institutional logics perspective and research on organizational forms, extending our understanding of the financial–social performance relationship among organizations. It also advances the social entrepreneurship literature by focusing our attention on various institutions at both national and organizational levels that may facilitate or inhibit social venture efficacy.

Purpose

This chapter acknowledges the difficulties in the empirical study of social ventures – broadly defined as market-driven ventures that produce social change – that arise from the vast differences among social venture firms in terms of missions, goals, identities, strategies, and structures. In an effort to improve research in this area and advance the field of social entrepreneurship, the authors advocate approaching social ventures from a configurational perspective.

Design/methodology

This chapter begins with a discussion of what social ventures are and why organizational configurations – sets of firms that are similar across key characteristics – may be an appropriate perspective to utilize. Then, two methods – cluster analysis and set-theoretic analysis – are discussed in detail as ways to approach the study of social venture configurations. Details include descriptions of the techniques, instructions for use, examples, and limitations for each.

Implications

This chapter identifies research opportunities using configurations approaches in social venture research. Substantial possibilities for multilevel and temporally based research are discussed in depth.

Originality/value

A configurational approach can address the incongruence and non-findings in current social venture research and offers new opportunities for future research.

Purpose

Social entrepreneurs create novel approaches to social problems such as poverty. But scaling these approaches to the dimension of the problem can be a difficult task. In the social enterprise sector, the subject of scaling has become a key dimension of organizational performance. This chapter advances the scholarly literature on the scaling of social enterprises, a literature which is currently in an embryonic stage and characterized by conceptual ambiguity and fragmented perspectives.

Methodology/Approach

We engage realist philosophy of science to develop mechanism-based causal explanations of the scaling performance of social enterprises. We also develop a coding scheme to guide systematic empirical analysis and highlight the explanatory power of counterfactuals. Counterfactuals have been largely neglected in empirical research as they represent mechanisms that are enabled but remain unobservable – in a state of suppression or neutralization of their effects.

Findings

We question the ability of organizations to “socially engineer” desired outcomes and introduce a new construct – organizational closure competence. Anchored in realism, this construct provides a basis for productive approaches to social engineering. We elaborate on the importance of organizational closure competencies for scaling, derive a series of propositions, and develop ideas for future research and for practice.

Research, Practical and Social Implications

Applying a realist lens allows us to add empirical rigor to research on social enterprises and scaling. Our approach constitutes a move from rich narratives to causal models and informs the way we design and evaluate efforts to address important societal challenges.

Originality/Value of Chapter

This chapter demonstrates how to operationalize realist philosophy of science for causal explanations of complex social phenomena and better utilize its theoretical and practical value.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to document the use of Participatory Action Research methods as an effective approach for community empowerment and strategies for more inclusive public policy.

Design/methodology

The methodology draws on a “participatory video” project with recycling cooperatives in São Paulo, Brazil, and documents the process, benefits, and challenges of using action-oriented methods and tools as an approach to build capacity for political and social change. The authors provide a step-by-step process of facilitating a PV project, its application for policy engagement, and some of the major dilemmas in using PV, including representation, power, and vulnerability.

Findings

The research findings conclude that the application of Participatory Action Research as a research method in social entrepreneurship, contributes significantly to build transformative capacity in participating members, in addition to creating new spaces for inclusive policy.

Originality/value

The research is unique in that it points to creative and transformative methods of engagement for inclusive governance, embracing multiple forms of personal identity, knowledge and creative expression in moving toward new solutions for equal opportunities and possibilities for change. Participatory video is argued to be an innovative avenue for the inclusion of multiple voices in these arenas, voices of people otherwise left on the margins. Participatory video is an approach that has the potential to transform the way we (local and global) move toward greater social equity, human compassion, and environmental flourishing.

Purpose

To review and address current approaches and limitations to modeling change over time in social entrepreneurship research.

Methodology

The article provides a narrative review of different practices used to assess change over time. It also shows how different research questions require different methodologies for assessing changes over time. Finally, it presents worked examples for modeling these changes.

Findings

Our review suggests that there is a lack of research in social entrepreneurship that takes into account the many different considerations for addressing how time influences outcomes.

Originality/value

This chapter introduces an analytic technique to social entrepreneurship that effectively models changes in predictors and outcomes even when data are non-normal or nested across time or levels of analysis.

Purpose

Despite the increase in empirical studies of social enterprise in management and organization research, the lack of a cohesive knowledge base in this area is concerning. In this chapter, we propose that the underdevelopment of the attendant research infrastructure is an important, but oft-overlooked, barrier to the development of this body of empirical research.

Design/methodology

We explore this proposition through a review of 55 empirical studies of social enterprises published in the last fifteen years, in which we examine the mix and trajectory of research methods used and the research infrastructure on which these studies depend.

Findings

We find that empirical research has used social enterprise largely as a context for theory development, rather than deductively testing, and thus building upon, existing theories. The latter pattern is due largely to the absence of two key dimensions of infrastructure: well-defined samples, and consistent, operational measures of social enterprise success. Finally, we identify present trends along both dimensions that contribute to changing the research infrastructure for empirical social enterprise research.

Originality/value

Our analysis highlights the critical need for research infrastructure to advance empirical research on social enterprise. From this perspective, research infrastructure-building provides an important opportunity for researchers interested in social enterprise and others interested in enabling high-quality empirical research in this setting.

Purpose

This chapter provides an article-by-article annotated bibliography of the extant social entrepreneurship literature from the top management and entrepreneurship journals. Special emphasis is given to the methods used in empirical studies, providing a one-stop reference to scholars interested in conducting social entrepreneurship research.

Methodology/Approach

Forty-three social entrepreneurship articles from ten top management and entrepreneurship journals were selected and summarized.

DOI
10.1108/S1479-838720149
Publication date
2014-08-12
Book series
Research Methodology in Strategy and Management
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78441-142-8
eISBN
978-1-78441-141-1
Book series ISSN
1479-8387