RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSH...
Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Strat. Entrepreneurship J., 3: 161���194 (2009) Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/sej.69 RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: PAST CONTRIBUTIONS AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES JEREMY C. SHORT,* TODD W. MOSS, and G. T. LUMPKIN Rawls College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A. Social entrepreneurship has been a topic of academic inquiry for nearly 20 years, yet relatively little scholarly output has appeared in mainstream management and entrepreneurship jour- nals. Our review of this literature reveals that conceptual articles outnumber empirical studies, and empirical efforts often lack formal hypotheses and rigorous methods. These fi nd- ings suggest that social entrepreneurship research remains in an embryonic state. Future research would benefi t from the incorporation of multivariate methods to complement the case study techniques that have dominated previous efforts. Our review also suggests that social entrepreneurship is informed by common areas of interest to management scholars like entre- preneurship, public/nonprofi t management, and social issues, all of which represent fruitful venues for future research efforts. Therefore, we recommend that scholars embrace key themes in strategic entrepreneurship and frame their research using established theories, such as contingency theory, creation theory, discovery theory, innovation diffusion theory, resource dependence theory, and other theoretical bases relevant to strategic entrepreneurship research. Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society. INTRODUCTION Understanding the process of new value creation is central to the fi eld of entrepreneurship (Alvarez and Barney, 2007). Extending this value creation logic to the realm of social entrepreneurship has led to an emerging research stream of interest to researchers and scholars in management, strategic management, and entrepreneurship (Austin, Stevenson, and Wei- Skillern, 2006 Certo and Miller, 2008 Peredo and Chrisman, 2006 Schendel and Hitt, 2007). The concept is also of interest to the business press (Gangemi, 2006), individual and corporate entrepre- neurs (Bornstein, 2005 Hemingway, 2005), and policy makers (Korosec and Berman, 2006). The practice of social entrepreneurship is also growing, with 6.6 percent of the population in the U.K. involved in some type of activity that is focused on community or social goals, either as a start-up venture or as owner-managers of that venture (Harding, 2004). Additionally, practitioner awards, such as the Skoll Foundation���s Award for Social Entrepreneurship and Fast Company magazine���s Social Capitalist Awards, lend further credence to the growing impact of social entrepreneurship. Despite increased interest in social entrepre- neurship, scholarly research has been challenging. Because defi nitions of social entrepreneurship have been developed in a number of different domains, such as not-for-profi ts, for-profi ts, the public sector, and combinations of all three, a unifi ed defi nition has yet to emerge (Christie and Honig, 2006 Weerawardena and Mort, 2006). For example, some defi nitions limit social entrepreneurship to non- profi t organizations (Lasprogata and Cotton, 2003), Keywords: social entrepreneurship social venture social enterprise community enterprise nonprofi t public administration *Correspondence to: Jeremy C. Short, Rawls College of Business Administration, Area of Management, Texas Tech University, Box 42101, Lubbock, TX 79409-2101, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
162 J. C. Short, T. W. Moss, and G. T. Lumpkin Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society Strat. Entrepreneurship J., 3: 161���194 (2009) DOI: 10.1002/sej while others describe social entrepreneurship as for- profi t companies operated by nonprofi t organiza- tions (Wallace, 1999), or organizations that create a fi rm at a fi nancial loss (Baron, 2007). Still others equate social entrepreneurship to philanthropy (Ostrander, 2007), while some scholars embrace broader defi nitions that relate social entrepreneur- ship to individuals or organizations engaged in entrepreneurial activities with a social goal (Certo and Miller, 2008 Van de Ven, Sapienza, and Vil- lanueva, 2007). In sum, this disparity of terminology is troubling because lack of a unifi ed defi nition makes establishing the legitimacy of a fi eld or con- struct diffi cult (e.g., Berger and Luckman, 1966 Neilsen and Rao, 1987 Reed and Luffman, 1986 Short, Payne, and Ketchen, 2008). It also hinders empirical research seeking to examine the anteced- ents and consequences of social entrepreneurship. For example, failure to consistently measure a social venture���s performance makes comparisons in the level of social entrepreneurship across ventures dif- fi cult, and ultimately limits our ability to understand elements that might reliably foster social entrepre- neurship. Establishing the legitimacy of a nascent fi eld is important to the community of management scholars because decisions on promotion, tenure, and merit-based pay increases are partially depen- dent on an appraisal of the value and legitimacy of the research one has conducted (Pfeffer, 1993). To bridge the gap between our current under- standing of social entrepreneurship and an enhanced knowledge that could aid in researching and foster- ing this emerging fi eld, this article fi rst analyzes the current state of intellectual exchange among schol- ars and highlights potential areas of improvement (e.g., Busenitz et al., 2003). To accomplish this goal, we review and critique existing social entrepreneur- ship research and propose a model that delineates its conceptual boundaries. We next suggest that themes of interest to the fi eld of strategic entrepreneurship (Schendel and Hitt, 2007) can be leveraged to offer suggestions for future scholarly research in areas of theory building, theory testing, and in other disci- plines with the potential to shape future research efforts (cf. Ireland and Webb, 2007). ASSESSING THE STATE OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP RESEARCH To gain greater understanding of the social entrepre- neurship literature, we identifi ed and analyzed the body of articles published in leading management and entrepreneurship journals where the primary topic of interest was related to social entrepreneur- ship or the social entrepreneurship phenomena. Therefore, we searched for articles that explicitly mentioned social entrepreneurship, social entrepre- neur, social venture, or social enterprise, without placing boundaries on time period. Given that social entrepreneurship is a relatively recent research stream, we wanted to explore every article on the subject and, hence, examined every possible year. This body of literature consisted of scholarly outlets in management and entrepreneurship as examined by Tahai and Meyer (1999) and Busenitz et al. (2003). Management journals included Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Management, Management Science, Organiza- tion Science, and Strategic Management Journal. Dedicated entrepreneurship journals included Entre- preneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Busi- ness Venturing, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. This analysis revealed only eight articles one was published in Academy of Management Review, one in Academy of Management Journal, two in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and four in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. We then expanded our search to other research-oriented jour- nals in business and other fi elds using the EBSCO, Web of Knowledge, ABI/INFORM, and Science Direct databases for peer-reviewed scholarly arti- cles, again allowing for all years available in each database. This expanded search yielded 152 relevant articles from a variety of scholarly disciplines includ- ing, but not limited to, management and entrepre- neurship, with the fi rst article appearing in 1991. This constitutes the sample used for our coding scheme and content analysis that follows. Table 1 displays the outlets for social entrepreneurship research to date, as well as those research domains that are citing social entrepreneurship articles from our sample. A complete list of the 152 articles used in our review is presented in the Appendix. Social entrepreneurship research has spanned a period of nearly 20 years. This time frame is similar to other time periods studied by scholars who assess fads, fashions, and trends. Topics considered to fall into this category include new public manage- ment, quality circles, reengineering, downsizing, management by walking around, and Theory X/ Theory Y (e.g., Abrahamson, 1996 Abrahamson and Fairchild, 1999 Dunleavy et al., 2006 Miller,
Research in Social Entrepreneurship 163 Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society Strat. Entrepreneurship J., 3: 161���194 (2009) DOI: 10.1002/sej Table 1. Domains publishing and citing social entrepreneurship research Domain and peer reviewed journals publishing social entrepreneurship research Published Cited Accounting ��� 4 (1%) Anthropology 1 (1%) ��� Human Organization (1) Economics 14 (9%) 31 (5%) Annals of Public & Cooperative Economics (1), Economic Affairs (1), Economic Development Quarterly (1), Far Eastern Economic Review (1), International Journal of Social Economics (6), Journal of Economics and Management Strategy (1), Local Economy (2) Education 7 (5%) 25 (4%) Academy of Management Learning and Education (1), Action Learning: Research and Practice (1), Career Development International (1), Industry & Higher Education (1), Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (1), Library Trends (1), Refl ections (1) Entrepreneurship 17 (11%) 105 (18%) Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (4), Entrepreneurship and Regional Development (1), International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Innovation (1), International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management (1), International Small Business Journal (1), Journal of Applied Management & Entrepreneurship (1), Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (4), Journal of Small Business & Enterprise Development (1), New England Journal of Entrepreneurship (1), Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (2) Finance 1 (1%) ��� Journal of Investing (1) Law 2 (1%) 3 (1%) American Business Law Journal (1), Wake Forest Law Review (1) Management 40 (26%) 74 (12%) Academy of Management Journal (1), Academy of Management Review (1), Business Horizons (2), Business Strategy & the Environment (1), Business Strategy Review (5), Corporate Governance: An International Review (2), Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Effective Board Performance (1), California Management Review (2), Equal Opportunities International (1), Greener Management International (1), Harvard Business Review (5), ICFAI Journal of Management Research (1), Ivey Business Journal Online (1), Journal of American Academy of Business (1), Journal of Organizational Change Management (2), Journal of World Business (6), Leadership in Action (1), Leader to Leader (1), Management Decision (2), MIT Sloan Management Review (1), TAMARA: Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science (1), University of Auckland Business Review (1) Marketing 9 (6%) 40 (7%) International Journal of Nonprofi t and Voluntary Sector Marketing (2), Journal of Consumer Behavior (1), Journal of Nonprofi t and Public Sector Marketing (3), Journal of Strategic Marketing (1), Qualitative Market Research (1), Social Marketing Quarterly (1) Operations Management ��� 2 ( 1%) Political Science 15 (10%) 64 (11%) Administration and Society (1), Fraser Forum (1), International Journal of Public Administration (3), International Journal of Public Sector Management (1), Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (1), Journal of Public Affairs (1), National Civic Review (1), Pacifi c Affairs (1), Public Administration Review (4), Public Management Review (1), Review of Political Economy (1)
164 J. C. Short, T. W. Moss, and G. T. Lumpkin Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society Strat. Entrepreneurship J., 3: 161���194 (2009) DOI: 10.1002/sej Hartwick, and LeBreton-Miller, 2004). As a bur- geoning area of inquiry, social entrepreneurship is also likely to have its own fads or fashions. For example, research on social cooperatives (autono- mous associations where individuals create a jointly owned enterprise to meet common social and eco- nomic needs) has emerged as a fruitful area of inquiry in recent years (e.g., Lindsay and Hems, 2004 Mancino and Thomas, 2005 Thomas, 2004). While more than 7,000 such organizations appear in Italy alone, future research is needed to examine if such organizations are fads or legitimate new orga- nizational forms. Our sample of 152 articles on social entrepreneur- ship showed an increase in publication rate of 750 percent over the 18-year time span of our sample. Additionally, the number of social entrepreneurship articles decreased in only four of those years, includ- ing only once in the past six years. These results compare favorably with Busenitz and colleagues��� (2003) fi nding that the rate of publication of entre- preneurship articles in management journals increased by 62 percent over a 15-year period. The growth of foundations���such as the Skoll Founda- tion���tailored towards fostering and promoting social entrepreneurship provides an additional indi- cator of the increasing legitimacy of this nascent stream. Indeed, Skoll���s growth from about $40 million in 2000 to its 2006 endowment of over $600 million shows the importance private and public donors place on aiding social entrepreneurs (Osberg, 2006). Thus, evidence suggests that while particular topics may be driven by fads or fashions, social entrepreneurship research as a whole seems to be gaining prominence. Social entrepreneurship publications and citations The outlets publishing social entrepreneurship research hint at the acceptance of social entrepre- neurship as a fi eld of academic inquiry by members of academic societies and may provide evidence of this research stream���s legitimacy (e.g., Busenitz et al., 2003 Lockett and McWilliams, 2005). To better highlight sources of social entrepreneurship research, we built upon an existing framework developed by Ireland and Webb (2007), who exam- ined the diverse nature of disciplines contributing to entrepreneurship research and reported the linkages of a variety of disciplines, such as accounting, anthropology, economics, fi nance, management, marketing, operations management, political science, psychology, and sociology. The most common discipline contributing to the social entrepreneurship research was management (26%), followed by entrepreneurship (11%), politi- cal science (10%), economics (9%), marketing (6%), sociology (5%), and education (5%). Disciplines such as anthropology (1%), fi nance (1%), and law (1%) are minimally publishing work in social entre- preneurship, and we found no social entrepreneur- ship articles in the domains of accounting, operations management, or psychology. Overall, our review suggests that social entrepreneurship research is beginning to reach a broad audience, and that there may be suffi cient interest within multiple domains to warrant cross-disciplinary scholarly collaboration. Citation analysis has often been used as a measure of intellectual infl uence and relevance of research Domain and peer reviewed journals publishing social entrepreneurship research Published Cited Psychology ��� ��� Sociology 7 (5%) 1 ( 1%) Australian Journal of Social Issues (1), Journal of Applied Behavioral Science (1), MultiCultural Review (1), Social Forces (1), Social Work (1), Society (1) Other Business 25 (16%) 131 (22%) Business Ethics Quarterly (1), Journal of Business Ethics (5), New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising (1), Nonprofi t & Voluntary Sector Quarterly (4), Nonprofi t Management and Leadership (5), Stanford Social Innovation Review (4), Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofi t Organizations (6) Other 14 (9%) 84 (14%) TOTAL 152 595 Table 1. Continued
Research in Social Entrepreneurship 165 Copyright �� 2009 Strategic Management Society Strat. Entrepreneurship J., 3: 161���194 (2009) DOI: 10.1002/sej (Lockett and McWilliams, 2005). To examine the impact of social entrepreneurship research on other intellectual domains, we examined published research that cited articles from our sample of social entrepreneurship articles. As many of the journals in our sample are not included in the Social Science Citation Index, we used Harzing���s Publish or Perish software to identify scholarly citations in Google Scholar. Harzing���s measure has been compared with ISI, and was found to provide a more comprehensive and accurate measure of journal impact (Harzing and van der Wal, 2009). We eliminated foreign language papers, working papers, dissertations, and books from the Harzing���s results, so our citation analysis was based solely on English language journal arti- cles. The 152 articles in our sample have been cited 595 times, as shown in Table 1. Three of the top fi ve most cited articles appeared in public administration journals three articles appeared in Public Adminis- tration Review, making up 49 (8%), 29 (5%), and 21 (4%) of the citations respectively. Two of the top fi ve most cited articles came from management journals, with 39 of those citations (7%) from the lone article published in Academy of Management Journal, and 24 citations (4%) from a single article in Manage- ment Decision. Overall, management and entrepre- neurship journals cited articles in our sample of social entrepreneurship articles 179 times (30%), suggesting that the impact of social entrepreneurship research on these two fi elds has been considerable relative to other disciplines. To further examine the boundary and exchange conditions of social entrepreneurship research, we coded a number of critical issues in a similar vein as Busenitz and colleagues��� (2003) review of entrepre- neurship research. We divided research into concep- tual and empirical efforts to assess the distinctive merits of each contribution type (e.g., Busenitz et al., 2003). Of the 152 social entrepreneurship articles in our review, 80 (52%) were conceptual and 72 (48%) were empirical in nature. For conceptual articles, we examined the purpose of the article and coded for use of formal propositions. For empirical articles, we coded for use of formal propositions or hypotheses, research method, research setting, sample size, and the measurement of the social entrepreneurship construct. The results of our content analysis are displayed in Table 2. Conceptual articles Theoretical contributions can broadly be cate- gorized by their goals of description, explanation, or Table 2. Characteristics of conceptual and empirical articles on social entrepreneurship Conceptual articles (N = 80) Count (out of 80) Purpose Descriptive 30 of 80 (38%) Explanatory 44 of 80 (55%) Predictive 6 of 80 (7%) Use of formal propositions 6 of 80 (8%) Empirical articles (N = 72) Count (out of 72) Use of formal propositions or hypotheses 6 of 72 (8%) Qualitative methodsa total 54 of 72 (74%) Case study 43 of 72 (60%) Grounded theory 8 of 72 (11%) Discourse analysis 2 of 72 (3%) Interpretive 1 of 72 (2%) Quantitative methodsa total 16 of 72 (22%) Descriptive statistics 14 of 72 (19%) Correlations 6 of 72 (8%) Regression 2 of 72 (3%) SEM 2 of 72 (3%) T-tests 1 of 72 (2%) Ranking 1 of 72 (2%) Cluster analysis 1 of 72 (2%) Method not specifi eda total 3 of 72 (4%) Data collectiona Interviews 49 of 72 (68%) Secondary data 21 of 72 (29%) Surveys 16 of 72 (22%) Observation 10 of 72 (14%) Source not specifi ed 11 of 72 (15%) aArticles are coded into more than one category if applicable, therefore total is greater than 100%. prediction (Kerlinger, 1986 Snow and Thomas, 1994). To assess the purpose of each article, we coded if articles provided descriptions by defi ning key constructs like social entrepreneurship provided explanations concerning why and to what degree key constructs (such as social entrepreneurship and performance) are related or made predictions of organizational outcomes, such as the antecedents or consequences of social entrepreneurship. Thirty descriptive articles in our sample of con- ceptual articles (38%) chiefl y sought to describe the what of social entrepreneurship, without providing