The Recognition and Development of Social Enterprise Opportunities: An Identity Based Approach

60 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2012 Last revised: 5 May 2015

See all articles by Tyler Wry

Tyler Wry

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Management Department

Jeffrey G. York

University of Colorado - Boulder, Leeds School of Business; University of Virginia (UVA) Darden Graduate School of Business Administration

Date Written: February 14, 2015

Abstract

Social enterprise has gained widespread acclaim as a tool for addressing social and environmental problems. Yet, because these organizations integrate the social welfare and commercial logics in their core, they face the challenge of pursuing goals that frequently conflict with each other. Studies have begun to address how established social enterprises can manage these tensions, but we know little about how, why, and with what consequences social entrepreneurs mix competing logics as they work to create new organizations. To address this gap, we develop a theoretical model based in identity theory that helps to explain: (1) how the commercial and social welfare logics become relevant to entrepreneurship; (2) how different types of entrepreneurs perceive the tension between these logics, and; (3) the implications this has for how entrepreneurs go about recognizing and developing plans to address opportunities that integrate social welfare and commercial goals. Our approach thus responds to calls from organizational and entrepreneurship scholars to extend existing frameworks of opportunity recognition and development to better account for social enterprise creation.

Keywords: Identity, Social Enterprise, Entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: M13

Suggested Citation

Wry, Tyler and York, Jeffrey G., The Recognition and Development of Social Enterprise Opportunities: An Identity Based Approach (February 14, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173308 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2173308

Tyler Wry

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Jeffrey G. York (Contact Author)

University of Colorado - Boulder, Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO
United States

University of Virginia (UVA) Darden Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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