Marketing in the Social Enterprise Context: Is it Entrepreneurial?

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Eleanor Shaw

Eleanor Shaw

University of Strathclyde - Department of Marketing

Date Written: 2004


This study explores the types of marketing activities in which social enterprises engage and considers the extent to which these activities could be described as entrepreneurial. Interviews were done with 80 founders, chief executives, or the most senior managers or volunteers of social enterprises in the UK. A variety of enterprises were included, such as projects for the homeless, drug awareness initiatives, and a community festival. Inductive analysis identified four themes: opportunity recognition, entrepreneurial effort, entrepreneurial organizational culture, and networks and networking. While social enterprises were found to engage in entrepreneurial marketing, the findings indicate that within a social enterprise context, sector-specific factors, including local embeddedness, a not-for-profit orientation, and the challenges posed by social exclusion may influence the marketing activities of social enterprises. (JSD)

Keywords: Marketing, Social entrepreneurship, Opportunity recognition, Social networks, Organizational cultures

Suggested Citation

Shaw, Eleanor, Marketing in the Social Enterprise Context: Is it Entrepreneurial? (2004). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Eleanor Shaw (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde - Department of Marketing ( email )

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

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