Social entrepreneurship and broader theories: shedding new light on the 'Bigger Picture'

Anica Zeyen*, Markus Beckmann, Susan Mueller, J. Gregory Dees, Dmitry Khanin, Norris Krueger, Patrick J. Murphy, Filipe Santos, Mariarosa Scarlata, Jennifer Walske, Andrew Zacharakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


This article documents the results of a research workshop bringing together six perspectives on social entrepreneurship. The idea was to challenge existing concepts of the economy, the firm, and entrepreneurship in order to shed new light on social entrepreneurship and on our existing theoretical frameworks. The first two contributions use a macro-perspective and discuss the notion of adaptive societies and the tragedies of disharmonization, respectively. Taking a management perspective, the next two focus on the limits of conventional assumptions in management theory, particularly human capital theory and resource-based view. The final two contributions follow an entrepreneurship perspective highlighting the usefulness of mobilization theory and the business model lens to social entrepreneurship. Despite this diversity, all contributions share the fact that they challenge narrow definitions of the unit of analysis in social entrepreneurship; they illustrate the aspect of social embeddedness, and they argue for an open-but-disciplined diversity of theories in social entrepreneurship research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive efficiency
  • Business models
  • Mobilization theory
  • Resource-based view
  • Tragedy of the commons


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