Social Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa

Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(1), pp. 72-91, 2015

Posted: 2 Nov 2014 Last revised: 9 Aug 2017

See all articles by Miguel Rivera-Santos

Miguel Rivera-Santos

Babson College

Diane Holt

Queen's University Belfast

David Littlewood

University of Reading - Henley Business School

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Date Written: October 31, 2014

Abstract

Responding to calls for a better understanding of the relationship between social enterprises and their environments, this article focuses on contextual influences on social entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. We identify four predominantly African contextual dimensions, i.e., acute poverty, informality, colonial history, and ethnic group identity, and explore their influence on the way social ventures perceive themselves and on their choice of activities. Our empirical study of 384 social enterprises from 19 sub-Saharan African countries suggests that ethnic group identity and high poverty levels influence both self-perception and activity choices, while the country’s colonial history only influences self-perception and informality has no significant influence on either. These findings point to the need to consider both self-perception and the choice of activities in defining social entrepreneurship. Our study also highlights the importance of African contextual dimensions for understanding social entrepreneurship, and underlines the added value of incorporating insights from African data into management research more broadly.

Keywords: social entrepreneurship, Africa, institutions, social enterprises, poverty, entrepreneurs, development

JEL Classification: D21, D63, H11, I32, J23, K4, L2, L33, M13, M14, N47, O17, O55

Suggested Citation

Rivera-Santos, Miguel and Holt, Diane and Littlewood, David and Kolk, Ans, Social Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa (October 31, 2014). Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(1), pp. 72-91, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2517437

Miguel Rivera-Santos

Babson College ( email )

Babson Park, MA 02157
United States
781-239-5325 (Phone)

Diane Holt

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

Management School, Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 5EE
United Kingdom
+44 28 9097 4538 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://trickleout.net

David Littlewood

University of Reading - Henley Business School ( email )

Greenlands
Reading, Henley on Thames RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anskolk.eu

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