In Research


Year: 2020
Published in: Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ)
Cited as: Le TT, Nguyen TNQ, Tran QHM. When Giving is Good for Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship. Australasian Marketing Journal. 2020;28(4):253-262. doi:10.1016/j.ausmj.2020.05.005


With this research, the authors attempt to examine the relationship between empathy and social entrepreneurial intention which is considered an important yet under-researched facet of social entrepreneurship literature.


We develop a cognitive-affect model of social entrepreneurship that begins with empathy (i.e. perspective taking and empathic concern) and progresses through prosocial behavior to social entrepreneurship intention. We further propose two contingencies – namely entrepreneurial opportunity evaluation and exploitation – that moderate the proposed relationships. We verify theses effects with a sample of 537 respondents. Results suggest that prosocial behavior mediates the relationship between empathy (perspective taking and empathic concern) and social entrepreneurial intention. We also find that opportunity evaluation and opportunity exploitation moderate this mediating pathway.


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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

“1. The limited scope of this study, which focuses on undergraduate and postgraduate students, limis the generalizability of the findings. Future research may apply the conceptual framework to working adults.

2. Future research could enhance our understanding of the indirect effect of empathy by examining other types of employee attitudes and behaviors.

Social Entrepreneurs

“This study provides business leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurship educators with several important managerial implications.

1. Findings recommend that the ability to sense others’ thoughts and feeling are of paramount importance in identifying and supporting promising social entrepreneurs. As perspective taking and empathic concern are two crucial prerequisites for social entrepreneurship activities, business leaders are recommended to offer opportunities for their employees to learn and develop their abilities to apprehend and react to customers’ thoughts and feelings.

2. Second, managers’ understanding of how prosocial behaviour intervenes the relationship between empathy and social entrepreneurial intention suggests that prosocial behaviour can be broadened and deepened by appropriate training programs. Firms valuing entrepreneurial and socially concerned employees should recognize that cooperative group values and norms are of paramount importance. They should not only implement financial but also non-financial schemes to cultivate and foster a prosocial mindset that tap into employees’ desires for considering others’ goals and attaching more importance to the well-being of the group.

3. Third, managers should also note that opportunity contingencies shape the impact of prosocial behavior on social entrepreneurial intention by accentuating the role of opportunity evaluation and opportunity exploitation. The effect of prosocial behavior on social entrepreneurial intention is strengthened when both opportunity evaluation and opportunity exploitation are high. This implies that when individuals perceive a positive evaluation of ‘what will be’ if the opportunity was exploited – that is when they see this business opportunity is worth considering – they are more likely to engage in establishing social businesses.

4. Moreover, the results suggest that not only does opportunity evaluation matter but also the pursuit of an actual opportunity in the form of a decisive action (e.g. how to allocate available resources to develop new products) can play a central role. When resource allocation decisions on the likelihood for the opportunity to be exploited appropriately and successfully are taken into consideration, this opportunity exploitation provides fertile conditions for social entrepreneurial intention to thrive.