Social enterprise is a management practice that integrates principles of private enterprise with social sector goals and objectives. Social enterprise is a relatively new type of social work macro practice and includes a variety of sustainable economic activities designed to yield social impact for individuals, families, and communities. Despite the increased popularity of social enterprise scholarship, social work is visibly absent from it. Social enterprise is a field that promises to harness the energy and enthusiasm of commercial entrepreneurship combined with macro practice to address many long-standing social issues. Despite being a popular practice phenomenon, empirical research on social enterprise is still quite nascent, indeed: only a few empirical articles on the subject have thus far appeared in academic journals, and even fewer in social work journals. This article provides an overview of social enterprise, and the potential for synergy between social enterprise, the social work profession, and education.
Corporate Social Entrepreneurship
Corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) is a subject of growing interest for scholars in the areas of corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility as it has the potential of engaging corporations in activities that transform traditional practices, advance corporate purpose, and promote positive social change. CSE consists of identifying, evaluating, and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities that address social and environmental problems through market means from within corporations. Dual value creation—the simultaneous pursuit of social and economic value creation—is a core element of CSE, however, in organizations that have not been originally designed for this purpose. As an umbrella concept, CSE embraces similar terms such as social intrapreneurship and sustainable corporate entrepreneurship. CSE often starts autonomously through managers and employees acting as social intrapreneurs, until initiatives are accepted and integrated into the firm’s concept of strategy. CSE introduces a societal concern to corporate entrepreneurship, contextualizes social entrepreneurship in corporations, and advances entrepreneurial approaches to corporate social responsibility—all of which are topics that remain relatively unexplored and that offer vibrant opportunities for future research.
New Venture Legitimacy
Starting an entrepreneurial endeavor is an uncertain and ambiguous project. This uncertainty and ambiguity make it difficult for entrepreneurs to generate much needed resources and support. In order to address this difficulty, a new venture needs to establish legitimacy, which entails being perceived as desirable, proper, or appropriate within the socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs, and definitions within which it operates. New venture legitimacy is generated from various sources and hence has three broad dimensions—a cognitive, a moral, and a pragmatic dimension. The cognitive dimension accounts for the extent to which the activities and purpose of a venture are understood by key audiences and how knowledge about that venture spreads. The moral dimension reflects the extent to which a venture is perceived to be doing the right thing. The pragmatic dimension accounts for the extent to which a new venture serves the interests of critical constituents. All three of these dimensions factor into a legitimacy assessment of a new venture. Legitimacy is important for new ventures because it helps them overcome their liabilities of newness, allowing them to mobilize resources and engage in transactions, thereby increasing their chances of survival and success. Although legitimacy matters for almost all new ventures, it is most critical if an entrepreneur engages in activities that are new and novel, such as establishing a new industry or market or creating a new product or technology. In these circumstances, it is most important for entrepreneurs to strategically establish and manage a new venture’s legitimacy. The strategic establishment and management of new venture legitimacy may entail arranging venture elements to conform with the existing environment, selecting key environments in which to operate, manipulating elements of the external environment to align with venture activities, or creating a whole new social context to accommodate a new venture. Enacting each of these new venture legitimation strategies may necessitate employing identity, associative, and organizational mechanisms. Identity mechanisms include cultural tools and identity claims such as images, symbols, and language by entrepreneurs to enhance new venture legitimacy. Associative mechanisms reflect the formation of relationships and connections with other individuals and entities to establish new venture legitimacy. Organizational mechanisms account for manipulating the organization and structure of a new venture and the achievement of success measures by that venture to attain legitimacy. Ultimately all of this is done so that various external parties, with different logics and perspectives, will evaluate a new venture as legitimate and be prepared to provide that venture with resources and support.
Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Macro Social Work
Monica Nandan and Gokul Mandayam
Social workers possess skills, values, and perspectives that enable them to practice as social innovators, intrapreneurs, and entrepreneurs. Given the complex, dynamic, and challenging contexts for social work practice, these strategies have become essential for social workers to continue creating social value and social good. The article Herein are described strategies, rationale for social workers to practice in a socially innovative, intrapreneurial, or entrepreneurial fashion; parallels between these strategies and social work practice; and a case is built for the social work curriculum to include content related to these strategies.
Stephen Edward McMillin
Social innovation is not well understood within the context of macro-social work. Frameworks for understanding social innovation as having dimensions of social entrepreneurship, social intrapreneurship, and social advocacy are elaborated. Challenges to the comprehensive understanding and utility of social innovation for macro social work are discussed, especially an overemphasis on social entrepreneurship as the only typical expression of social innovation as well as a mistargeted, deficit-based approach which assumes that contemporary social work is dysfunctional and can only be made functional through social innovation and entrepreneurship. Global and multidisciplinary insights and applications of social innovation for macro social work are reviewed. Finally, how the macro-social work approach to social innovation builds on and advances business approaches to social innovation is discussed.
Generative Emergence: Research and Praxis for Social Innovation
Generative emergence is one of many theories for how new entities are created; how a new order comes into being. Emergence itself is one perspective on change and transformation. However, whereas change is an alteration of existing structures, emergence refers to the creation of a new (social) entity. Explaining the phenomenon of creation, at all levels, is the goal of an emergence science. Generative emergence takes a step in that direction, which explains how emergence can be enacted in practice. Generative emergence derives from dissipative structures in thermodynamics, a theory of new order creation. In the experiment that produced the theory, heat energy is dissipated through a closed container (from a source to a sink), and the heat is continuously increased. At a threshold point, an entirely new level of order emerges across the molecular substrate, in the form of large whirlpools (visible to the naked eye). These macrostructures confer “orders of magnitude” more capacity to dissipate the incoming energy flux. This unique order-creation process has led to a strong multidisciplinary literature, carefully analogizing this order creation process to social systems. Specifically, in empirical research across multiple levels of analysis (from leadership to teams to ventures to strategies to new markets), the same four phases of activity have been identified. These four phases have been integrated into the theory of generative emergence, which reveals the sequential conditions through which a new system emerges. The phases are (a) disequilibrium organizing and stress, (b) experiments and amplifications to a critical threshold, (c) emergence of a new entity, and (d) stabilizing the new system into a dynamic state. Generative emergence also shows how each phase can be supported and enacted through the actions of leaders. Specifically, a close reading of empirical research on dissipative structures in social systems reveals a set of leadership interventions that have improved the likelihood that these phases would build in sequence, leading to the creation of an emergent—a new entity. As one example, consider phase 1: disequilibrium organizing and stress. Entrepreneurial leaders initiate this through opportunity recognition for the creation of new value. As they pursue this aspiration, the dramatic increase in organizing—with its concomitant upsurge in work hours and uncertainty—leads to growing stress and conflict. Here, generative leadership shows how to “manage” this stress, for example by providing space for internal innovations and “experiments” by employees, which might spark the new level of the organization. In like manner, each of the phases has leadership correlates, which together coalesce into the emergence of a new system—a new initiative, venture, organization, or macrolevel market. The power of the generative emergence theory is that the new order that results can dramatically increase the capacity of the system, and for all of its members. As such, the leadership actions which generate this outcome are worthy of careful exploration and enactment.
Sophie Bacq and Jill R. Kickul
Social entrepreneurship is an ever-growing and ever-changing field. Known as the process of identifying, evaluating, and exploiting opportunities aiming at social value creation by means of commercial, market-based activities and of the use of a wide range of resources, social entrepreneurship combines market elements with a societal purpose. An overview of the evolution of social entrepreneurship as a field of research from its origins in the 1980s to date, and analysis of the themes presented at The Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference over more than a decade, show how the core components of social entrepreneurship remained as the field evolved—social value creation, business model, and social entrepreneurial intentions, with the addition of nuances and complexities over time. These trends demonstrate the importance—and unique opportunities—for social entrepreneurship researchers to pursue further research on scaling, impact measurement, and systems change. Social entrepreneurship bears the promise and potential to revisit, and potentially challenge, the theoretical assumptions made in traditional entrepreneurship and management scholarship, embracing a multiplicity of salient stakeholders, other levels of analysis, or the relevance of community.
For-Purpose Enterprises and Hybrid Organizational Forms: Implications for Governance and Strategy
Marco S. Giarratana and Martina Pasquini
A company’s social purpose has become a key factor that should be considered in organizational design and strategic decision-making. For-purpose enterprises are for-profit, financially self-sustained organizations that embed a social aim as one of their main objectives. Companies that simultaneously must envisage a double purpose, namely, social and competitive, face an even greater complexity, that is, a likely risk of internal logics’ tensions and structural drifts. Scholars have proposed different theoretical and operative frameworks; on the one hand, they describe ad hoc business models to foster synergies between the social impact and economic and competitive-oriented actions. On the other hand, they also try to focus on an organization’s governance, suggesting incentive schemes and organizational designs that could smooth trade-offs and tensions, which could jeopardize a company’s viability. Following scholars have differentiated two clusters of studies: (a) instrumental–strategic–economic stream and (b) injunctive–social–behavioral. The first approach perceives as critical the balance between social-oriented aims and profit with a viable business model. Under this perspective, the concept of synergies between the two aims is critical. Its mainstream framework is the stakeholder theory approach while recent approaches, rooted especially in marketing and strategic human capital studies, bring to the central stage how corporate social responsible actions develop social identity processes with focal stakeholders, which are responsible for reciprocity behaviors. These different perspectives, although complementary, could imply significant differences for the organization design, product strategy, and the role and power of the chief sustainability officer as well as allocation of resources and capabilities. The second group of studies—injunctive–social–behavioral—is focused on understanding how to maintain active social aims under economic and competitive constrains. These works are particularly focused in investigating the intrinsic motivations of doing good and the type of tensions that could arise in organizations with a social mission. The works analyze the potential drifts, risks, and solutions that could mitigate tension and trade-offs. In this stream, the first line of work is related to social entrepreneurship, especially in developing countries, while the second is more focused on human-resource incentive schemes and organizational designs that preserve a company’s social goals under economic constrains.
Social Innovation Pedagogies and Sustainable Models for Future Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and Citizens
Roisin Lyons and Rahmin Bender-Salazar
The use of innovation to address our social or environmental needs is now critical. Globally, we are faced with numerous challenges which require novel, robust solutions that consider multiple scenarios and stakeholders. Innovation education has often been siloed into enterprise, business, and engineering programs to bolster the innovative potency of startup ventures and internal corporate processes. However, social innovation education (SIE) has merit in all disciplines, and for all citizens, to address these emergent global challenges. Social innovation as a concept and field is related but independent from the concept of innovation, and the pedagogies currently in use in these domains are in early development and practice. Social innovation relates to the creation of new ideas displaying a positive impact on the quality and duration of life. Theories of significance to SIE are rooted in the fields of design, creativity, and education while continuing to expand and evolve. A fitting pedagogy for social innovation should foster socially aware students who have both critical- and systems-thinking skills, empathy and an appreciation for human behavior, and who can leverage innovative competencies to develop solutions for positive social impact. In order to successfully create effective learning spaces, we contend that the curricula elements of (a) empathy, (b) locus of control, and (c) speculative thinking, should be embedded into all SIE learning designs.
Upshaw, Joan King
Sadye L. M. Logan
Joan King Upshaw, MSW, LSCSW (1929–2010), was a social work entrepreneur who pioneered temporary social work staffing. She created a useful avenue for professional social workers to work in ways that supported work–life balance, to work across fields of practice, and to start their own social change ventures.
Roger A. Lohmann
The management of finances in human service organizations has undergone a quiet revolution in the past three decades. This has included a complete and coordinated theory and practice of accounting, a still-incomplete theory and evolving set of practices in budgeting, and the accumulation of an expanding set of analytical tools and methods that reach well beyond what most human service organizations currently use. The new financial management paradigm is a model of the human service enterprise that is sufficiently robust and dynamic to encompass financial management practices in public, nonprofit, and private enterprises and to provide a platform for confronting privilege and challenging oppression.
Social Capital and Founder, Team, and Firm Networks in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial activity is facilitated by the ties that connect founders and their venture to a broader network of actors. This insight on the value of social capital has been enriched by a large body of research that builds on core concepts of network content, governance, and structure. Network content refers to the resources, information and social support that is exchanged or flows between actors. Governance encompasses the mechanisms that organize and regulate the exchange. Network structure refers to broader patterns created from the relationships between actors. With these building blocks, key findings that have emerged over 30 years of research can be organized into two domains: how networks influence entrepreneurial outcomes and how networks develop over the entrepreneurial process. Core findings regarding the performance consequences of social capital underscore its benefits while identifying limitations due to decreasing returns to growing and maintaining a large network or to contingencies tied to the stage of the venture’s growth. Our understanding of the sources of network evolution and the resulting patterns have also developed significantly. As a motor of network change, scholars have emphasized the goal-oriented behavior of the entrepreneur, but recognize social relationships also engender mutual concern, obligation, and emotional attachment. From a focus on founder and founding team ties to start-up, small firm networks, the literature now spans multiple levels and accounts for contextual variation between industries and institutional environments. Advances within each of these domains of inquiry have led to rich insights and greater conceptual complexity. Future research opportunities will arise that leverage cross-fertilization of the process and performance research streams.
Society has long considered entrepreneurs a distinct breed of people characterized by their unique willingness to act on opportunities. And yet, our recent understanding of entrepreneurship has greatly evolved to show entrepreneurs reflect a diverse and eclectic group who, though unique, emerge among all ethnicities, personalities, and walks of life. Simply, anyone can “become an entrepreneur” or “act entrepreneurially.” Entrepreneurial identity reflects the study of who entrepreneurs are and what they do. Identities can emerge through individuals’ distinct personal experiences, common roles, or shared social groups. And although identity matters for all individuals, it is especially important to entrepreneurs because they, in large part, shape organizations. The founder’s identity influences the mission, values, and strategic direction of new ventures. Even long after the founders are gone, the imprint of their identity on the organization often endures. Therefore, the study of entrepreneurial identity is critical not only to the entrepreneurs themselves but has a profound and lasting impact on most organizations, shaping how and why organizational members engage in their work.
Disruptive Classroom Technologies
Anthony J. "Sonny" Magana III
Of the many stated purposes of organized educational systems, one that might meet with general agreement is this: to ensure students build abundant learning capacity, achieve ample academic proficiency, and consolidate the requisite knowledge, skills, and aptitudes to successfully address future learning challenges. As computer technologies have transformed nearly every human endeavor imaginable, future learning challenges that students encounter will almost certainly require facility with digital technologies. In the realm of teaching and learning, the average impact of computer technology on student achievement has been both negligible and unchanged, despite astonishing technological developments since the 1960s. However, there is cause for renewed optimism about technology use in education. Compounding evidence suggests that large gains in student achievement are possible when digital tools are leveraged to enhance highly reliable instructional and learning strategies. The objective of the author’s investigation efforts is to develop a more precise language and set of ideas to discuss, enact, and evaluate high impact uses of digital tools in education. The result is the T3 Framework for Innovation in Education. The T3 Framework increments the impact of technology use into three hierarchical domains: Translational, Transformational, and Transcendent. Compounding evidence suggests that implementing the strategies in the T3 Framework, with reasonable fidelity, will likely increase the impact of digital technologies to unlock students’ limitless capacities for learning and contribution, and better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s learning challenges.