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The Emerging Field Of Social Entrepreneurship

2180 words - 9 pages

Introduction:
The emerging field of social entrepreneurship calls for a need for new integrated theories to contribute to the discipline and help grow the field. Social Entrepreneurship has been a topic of academic interest for the past few decades; however there has been little scholarly output in mainstream journals (Short, Moss, & Lumpkin 2009).Social entrepreneurship is commonly defined as “entrepreneurial activity with an embedded social purpose” (Austin et al. 2006). Social entrepreneurs play a role of change agents in society by adopting missions to create and sustain social value. They recognize and pursue new opportunities to serve the particular mission at hand. Social entrepreneurs engage in a process of continuous innovation, adaption and learning. With these components, social entrepreneurs are able to act without being limited by current resources. They are accountable to the constituencies served and for outcomes created as a result of their actions (Dees, 1998).
Although social entrepreneurs usually start rather small their initiatives often have global relevance, issues such as unemployment, incarceration, disease, small business creation, access to clean water, renewable energy, waste management etc. These issues and needs usually arise within a disenfranchised sector of society, and they are the drivers of social entrepreneurship.The desires or needs of the disadvantage segment of society are defined in the literature as positive externalities. Positive externalities are situations whenthe potential for value capture is lower than the potential for value creation because the benefits of society outweigh the benefits that could possibly be accrued by the organization or entrepreneur (Santos, 2012). Social entrepreneurs come into the equation by offering solutions to the neglected problems associated with positive externalities while simultaneously informing and educating society about the importance of the problems and the potential for value creation in the future. Consistent with strategic management literature, we explore the idea that growth is a function of the resources and organizational capabilities of the firm. When investigating the attributes of these resources we come to the resource based view of the firm theory (Wernerfelt, 1984). According to the resource based view, competitive advantage of a firm lies in the application of a bundle of valuable tangible or intangible resources at the firm's disposal (Wernerfelt, 1984). The competitive advantage derives from the valuable resources being neither perfectly imitable nor substitutable (Barney, 1991). If conditions hold, effective application of the bundled valuable resources translates competitive advantage into sustainability. Looking at social entrepreneurial organizations from a resource based view of a firm perspective; we acknowledge that resources and capabilities of social entrepreneurial organizations are critical to social innovation as well...

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