Social Entrepreneurship: A Critical Review of the Concept

Posted: 9 Nov 2009

See all articles by Ana Maria Peredo

Ana Maria Peredo

University of Victoria

Murdith McLean

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2006


Social entrepreneurship is well established as aform of business, and a concept in business schools, professional meetings, andscholarly publications. As to be expected, there are a variety of definitionsof 'social entrepreneurship.' For both policy and practical reasons, clarityabout the concept is needed. Social entrepreneurship may call for differentforms of evaluation or support by legislation or public policy. This essay undertakes an analytical, critical, and synthetic examination ofsocial entrepreneurship. Some definitions are shown to stress that theenterprise be driven by social goals; although there is dispute whether theenterprise must be revenue generating, the authors argue profitability isconsistent with social entrepreneurship. The definitions of socialentrepreneurship range from having social goals as exclusive or subordinate toother goals, and commercial exchange asa prime or central objective tobeing absent. Finally, the authors propose a flexible definition of 'socialentrepreneurship' that applies to a group or person. The enterprise must (1)aim at creating social value, exclusively or prominently; (2) demonstrateopportunity recognition to create value; (3) employ innovation, invention, ornovelty to create or distribute social value; (4) accept above-averagedegree of risk to create or distribute social value; and (5) be resourcefuldespite limited assets in pursuing a social venture. (TNM)

Keywords: Value creation, Philanthropy, Revenues, Social welfare, Organizational values, Risk orientation, Social entrepreneurs, Social entrepreneurship, Not-for-profit organizations, Opportunity recognition

Suggested Citation

Peredo, Ana Maria and McLean, Murdith, Social Entrepreneurship: A Critical Review of the Concept (2006). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Ana Maria Peredo (Contact Author)

University of Victoria ( email )

3800 Finnerty Rd
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2

Murdith McLean

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics