Abstract

In this paper, we used a vignette study to examine the effects of entrepreneur specific human capital and social mission impact on market based opportunity selected by social enterprise leaders. We manipulated the estimable probabilities of loss and gain for alternative market based opportunities aligned to social missions and collected additional data on the entrepreneurial experience, decision policies, and other attributes of the study participants and the social enterprises they lead in the real world. We argue that social enterprise leaders are more open to pursuing market-based options to achieve social missions that have higher levels of uncertainty and probability of loss. We further argue that subjective goals for maximizing social mission impact moderate this effect at higher levels of uncertainty and probability of loss. We test these hypotheses with a sample of 195 real world CEOs and Executive Directors of social enterprises from the central United States. Our findings support both hypotheses and raise interesting questions for social entrepreneurship research, policy and practice.

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