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A conceptual overview of What We Know About Social Entrepreneurship


  • Roy Thurik
  • Brigitte Hoogendoorn
  • Enrico Pennings


This contribution aims to answer the question what we know about social entrepreneurship by summarizing the current state of knowledge. It first provides a broad description of what social entrepreneurship is. Next, a conceptual overview is given of different perspectives on social entrepreneurship. More specifically, four schools of thought on social entrepreneurship are presented and a description is given of the defining characteristics that distinguish these schools from one another. Subsequently some of the main findings of empirical studies from each of the four schools are summarized and discussed.

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  • Roy Thurik & Brigitte Hoogendoorn & Enrico Pennings, 2011. "A conceptual overview of What We Know About Social Entrepreneurship," Scales Research Reports H201114, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h201114

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carlo Borzaga, 2013. "Social enterprise," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise, chapter 32, pages 318-326 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:64:y:1970:i:04:p:1033-1053_13 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sharir, Moshe & Lerner, Miri, 2006. "Gauging the success of social ventures initiated by individual social entrepreneurs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 6-20, February.
    4. Hoogendoorn, B. & Pennings, H.P.G. & Thurik, A.R., 2010. "What do We Know about Social Entrepreneurship: An Analysis of Empirical Research," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2009-044-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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