Abstract

A great deal of interest today centers on social entrepreneurship which is defined as ‘creation of organizations and institutions aimed at creating social value’. Yet, entrepreneurship theories have generally been about risk -oriented profit-seeking individuals who identify market opportunities and exploit them to earn profits. Considering the impact that social entrepreneurs have on economy and society in general, it is important to understand how opportunities are perceived and exploited by social entrepreneurs who are not driven primarily by self-serving considerations. In this qualitative study, we examined a sample of social entrepreneurs to understand how these entrepreneurs perceive a social need and start new social organizations aimed at alleviating this need. Building on our findings, we propose a theoretical framework grounded in prosocial behavior theory (Eisenberg and Miller, 1987; Bolino, Turnley, and Bloodgood, 2002) to explain how opportunities are identified in social entrepreneurship.

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