Abstract

While the narrow focus on profit maximisation is questioned, many scholars, politicians, non governmental organisations, entrepreneurs and managers ask firms to act in a more social responsible way (Porter and Kramer, 2006) and thereby to create social value. The creation of social value by firms has been studied from two broad perspectives. First, there is the business and society literature who looks at “the actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm, required by law” (McWilliams and Siegel, 2001). Next to this research stream, social entrepreneurship or “entrepreneurial activity that primarily serves a social objective" has been on the rise in recent decades (Austin et al., 2006). In this literature most empirical work is limited to explorative cases or qualitative field studies (e.g. Anderson et al., 2006). Given the scarcity of research very little is known about how social entrepreneurial firms actually go about creating value. Using the resource-based view of the firm, this paper addresses this question by qualitatively investigating the social mission and the business model of 4 social entrepreneurial firms (SEF). Building on these emerging insights and our conceptualisation of what a SEF entails, we further develop a sample frame to be used for administration of a structured survey in which the aforementioned constructs are operationalised and questioned.

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