Working Paper Series, Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum
Social entrepreneurship – a survey of current research
() and Ulrika Stuart Hamilton
Abstract: The phenomenon of social entrepreneurship, sometimes
denoted societal entrepreneurship, receives increased attention and
popularity by policy makers, opinion leaders, as well as by researchers.
The concept lacks a rigorous definition and in this survey we list a number
of alternative definitions and classifications made in recent research.
These are based on comparisons between social entrepreneurship and other
forms of organization, the core elements supposed to accrue to social
entrepreneurship and on identification of environmental factors in which
social entrepreneurs operate. In addition, despite the strong recent
increase in research interest comprising several schools of thought, there
is a lack of reliable data. One of the few comprehensive attempts to
collect comparable data is the 2009 GEM study, measuring levels of social
entrepreneurship activity in 45 countries. In this working paper we
contribute an intrapolated figure for Sweden using cubic splines, which
shows that Sweden ranks in the middle of the European countries. At the
political decision level both the European Union and individual member
states begin to adopt or suggest special legal framework conditions,
including beneficial treatment, for so called social enterprises. The paper
concludes that there are a limited number of studies using quantitative
methods, a lack of rigorous hypothesis testing, little variety in research
design, a need for an unambiguous definition that can serve as a foundation
for future research and a thorough analysis of the contributions to society
that can be attributed social entrepreneurship.
Keywords: entrepreneurship; social; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: A00; (follow links to similar papers)
57 pages, February 1, 2012
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