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A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship

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  • Filipe Santos

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Abstract

I propose a theory aimed at advancing scholarly research in social entrepreneurship. By highlighting the key trade-off between value creation and value capture and explaining when situations of simultaneous market and government failure may arise, I suggest that social entrepreneurship is the pursuit of sustainable solutions to neglected problems with positive externalities. I further discuss the situations in which problems with externalities are likely to be neglected and derive the central goal and logic of action of social entrepreneurs, in contrast to commercial entrepreneurs. Overall, this article provides a conceptual framework that allows understanding the growing phenomena of social entrepreneurship and its role in the functioning of modern society. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Filipe Santos, 2012. "A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 335-351, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:3:p:335-351
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1413-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zahra, Shaker A. & Gedajlovic, Eric & Neubaum, Donald O. & Shulman, Joel M., 2009. "A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 519-532, September.
    2. Haugh, Helen, 2007. "New Strategies for a Sustainable Society: The Growing Contribution of Social Entrepreneurship," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 743-749, October.
    3. Alvarez, Sharon A. & Barney, Jay B., 2004. "Organizing rent generation and appropriation: toward a theory of the entrepreneurial firm," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 621-635, September.
    4. Hector O. Rocha & Sumantra Ghoshal, 2006. "Beyond Self-Interest Revisited," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 585-619, May.
    5. Mukesh Sud & Craig VanSandt & Amanda Baugous, 2009. "Social Entrepreneurship: The Role of Institutions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(1), pages 201-216, February.
    6. Gerard P. Hodgkinson, 1997. "Cognitive Inertia in a Turbulent Market: the Case of UK Residential Estate Agents," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(6), pages 921-945, November.
    7. Certo, S. Trevis & Miller, Toyah, 2008. "Social entrepreneurship: Key issues and concepts," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 267-271.
    8. Seelos, Christian & Mair, Johanna, 2005. "Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 241-246.
    9. Nicola Pless, 2007. "Understanding Responsible Leadership: Role Identity and Motivational Drivers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 437-456, September.
    10. Mariarosa Scarlata & Luisa Alemany, 2010. "Deal Structuring in Philanthropic Venture Capital Investments: Financing Instrument, Valuation and Covenants," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 121-145, September.
    11. Craig VanSandt & Mukesh Sud & Christopher Marmé, 2009. "Enabling the Original Intent: Catalysts for Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(3), pages 419-428, December.
    12. Mair, Johanna & Martí, Ignasi, 2006. "Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 36-44, February.
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