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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Social Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Antecedents and Empirical Analysis of Entrepreneurial Processes and Outcomes

Shaw, Eleanor and Carter, S.L. (2005) Social Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Antecedents and Empirical Analysis of Entrepreneurial Processes and Outcomes. In: Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2004:Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Babson College, Wellesley, pp. 637-651.

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Abstract

This paper addresses the emerging practice of social entrepreneurship by exploring the historical and theoretical antecedents of social enterprise and its contemporary practice. By exploring key theoretical concepts, the paper draws comparisons between 'for-profit' and social entrepreneurs. The paper seeks to discuss the contemporary practice of social entrepreneurship by drawing on 80 depth interviews with social entrepreneurs. Discussion of the theory of entrepreneurship and contemporary practice of social entrepreneurs seeks to create a more nuanced view of social entrepreneurship and develop greater theoretical insights into this phenomenon and its recent expansion. A phenomenological research approach was adopted and depth interviews with social entrepreneurs from across the UK was identified as an appropriate data collection tool. Data analysis sought to identify and understand similarities between the more understood and studied behaviour of 'profit-seeking' entrepreneurs' and those of an emerging group of social entrepreneurs. In-depth interviews with 80 social entrepreneurs revealed five key themes within which the practice of social entrepreneurship could be compared and contrasted with for-profit entrepreneurship. These include: the entrepreneurial process, in particular opportunity recognition; network embeddedness; the nature of financial risk and profit; the role of individual versus collective action in managing and structuring enterprises; and creativity and innovation. Findings suggest that while the contemporary practices of social enterprises share many similarities wit their for-profit counterparts, significant differences can be found when comparing these practices with extant entrepreneurship research. The paper addresses an emerging phenomenon within the practice and theory of entrepreneurship and offers insight into similarities and differences between entrepreneurship in the profit and not-for-profit sectors.