In Research


Year: 2019
Published in: Social Enterprise Journal
Cited as: Dionisio, M. (2019). “The evolution of social entrepreneurship research: a bibliometric analysis.” Social Enterprise Journal 15(1): 22-45.


The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of research on social entrepreneurship through a bibliometric study and the use of Gartner’s (1985) framework to determine the evolution of this academic field.Design/methodology/approach The study is based on all conceptual and research papers published in the Social Enterprise Journal, the first publication to exclusively explore the social entrepreneurship field, from 2005 to 2017 and is conducted with the use of the open-source software package R. The work proposes an overview of the field and a deeper investigation through a bibliometric analysis and the use of Gartner’s framework to categorize the field in four dimensions: individual, organization, process and environment.Findings This work studied the development of social entrepreneurship as an emergent field, identifying key authors, institutions and their geographic origins, research and data collection methods and the key topics analyzed in each category, according to Gartner’s framework.Practical implications This work offers an overview of the status of research in the field and the main topics studied in this emerging field, with the potential to orient researchers to find new topics and possible gaps that needs further investigating.Originality/value This paper provides valuable contributions through a bibliometric analysis that is not very explored in the literature. It presents a general structure of the field and details of the main topics studied in this discipline.


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Future Research

Further studies should:
1) Explore other sources of social entrepreneurship literature.
2) The level of details covered in each dimension should be complemented by in depth research of each of the topics presented in this study.
3) There are a needs of further studies to better understand characteristics of social entrepreneurs.