In EU Policy


Year: 2020
Published in: Journal of Social Entrepreneurship:
Cited as: Tan Luc, P., P. Xuan Lan, A. Nhat Hanh Le and B. Thanh Trang (2020). “A Co-Citation and Co-Word Analysis of Social Entrepreneurship Research.” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship: 1-16.


This article aims to provide the intellectual structure and the evolution of research themes in social entrepreneurship. The authors deploy co-citation and co-word analyses to scrutinise 1278 social entrepreneurship research from the Web of Science database. In the co-citation analysis, five themes in social entrepreneurship are identified. These include the concept development of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise; bricolage and issues related to management in social entrepreneurship; opportunity recognition, motivation and intention; social innovation in social entrepreneurship; and institutional contexts. After that, the co-word analysis is used to comprehend the evolution of each research theme and to uncover potential future research directions. This research contributes to social entrepreneurship literature by combining co-citation analysis and keyword analysis to determine the literature structure and potential research directions.


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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

1. More research on comparative analysis between different type of organizations like ‘hybrid organisations’ and ‘non-profit organisations’.

2. More discussion is needed on negative aspects of abuse of bricolage in social entrepreneurship. ‘Crowdfunding’ is also considered a new approach to social enterprise development.

3. There are research gaps in understanding how social enterprise business models are structured, operated and developed over time.

4. Regarding the performance of social entrepreneurship, measuring social performance,
value creation, social value creation, social change and social impact can be a potential
future research path using a variety of qualitative and quantitative tools. Research should focus on the impact of a combination of these factors on intention.

5. The ‘intention’ mechanism to ‘behavior’ is still a challenge in this theme. The longitudinal design can be used to examine the process from intention to decision.

6. Sustainable entrepreneurship’ and ‘sustainable development’ received plenty of research attention in social entrepreneurship. The similarities, differences and the relationship between sustainable entrepreneurship, sustainable development and social entrepreneurship also need to be clarified in the following studies.

7. There is plenty scope to study the development of social entrepreneurship and its contribution to social development in the context of ‘developing countries’ or emerging countries. More studies should be focussed on Asian and African countries, where the social entrepreneurship level is still low such as ‘India’, ‘China’, ‘South Africa’, ‘Malaysia’.