In Research


Year: 2018
Published in: Journal of Business Research, 86: 32-40.
Cited as: Dwivedi, A., & Weerawardena, J. 2018. Conceptualizing and operationalizing the social entrepreneurship construct.Journal of Business Research, 86: 32-40.


Addressing the need for conceptualization and operationalization of the social entrepreneurship construct, we propose a behavioral measure of social entrepreneurship orientation (SEO). We build on past qualitative work within the social entrepreneurship literature that contextualizes the behavioral entrepreneurship concept, and draw upon the emergent effectuation theory that captures entrepreneurial behavior in resource-constrained contexts. After surveying 507 U.S.-based social purpose organizations, we offer five dimensions of SEO: innovativeness, proactiveness, risk management, effectual orientation, and social mission orientation. We also find support for SEO’s nomological validity, observing a positive influence on social innovation. We discuss limitations and implications of our measure to future research in social-entrepreneurship-led social value creation.


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Future Research

1) Future research is needed in economically less-developed countries and countries
known for the ‘base of the pyramid (BOP)’.
2) Researchers should move towards more explanatory research using larger national/cross-national datasets. Second, our measure facilitates future research examining the constructs that mediate the relationship between SEO and social innovation, such as resources and capabilities that will facilitate social innovation.
3) Future studies should replicate our model across domains in which SPOs are currently active such as the public sector, social enterprises, social businesses, and public-private partnerships that address social problems will serve to advance the field.