Re-Thinking Informal Entrepreneurship: Commercial or Social Entrepreneurs?

International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2012, pp. 295-309

15 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This paper evaluates critically the assumption that entrepreneurs who start-up their business ventures operating wholly or partially off-the-books are engaged in commercial entrepreneurship. Reporting evidence from a 2005-2006 survey involving face-to-face interviews with 298 informal entrepreneurs in Ukraine, the finding is that they are not all commercially-driven. Instead, these informal entrepreneurs range from purely rational economic actors who pursue for-profit logics through to purely social entrepreneurs who pursue solely social logics, with the majority somewhere in the middle of this spectrum combining both for-profit and social rationales. The result is a call for a more nuanced understanding of the heterogeneous logics of informal entrepreneurs that recognises the existence of social entrepreneurs in the realm of informal entrepreneurship.

Keywords: informal sector, shadow economy, hidden economy, underground economy, commercial entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, enterprise culture, post-socialist economies, Ukraine

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara, Re-Thinking Informal Entrepreneurship: Commercial or Social Entrepreneurs? (2012). International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2012, pp. 295-309, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706190

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

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