Non-market Entrepreneurship

Non-market Entrepreneurship

Interdisciplinary Approaches

Edited by Gordon E. Shockley, Peter M. Frank and Roger R. Stough

As defined by the editors of this book, ‘non-market entrepreneurship’ consists of all forms of entrepreneurship not being undertaken solely for purposes of profit maximization or commercialization, and encompasses entrepreneurial activities such as social enterprise and entrepreneurship, public sector entrepreneurship, policy entrepreneurship, non-profit entrepreneurship, and philanthropic enterprise, among many others. The eminent cast of contributors gives coherence to the academic and public discussions on the topic, builds a theoretical edifice within the field of entrepreneurship and helps to establish and delineate the contours of the research field of non-market entrepreneurship.

Chapter 11: Social Entrepreneurs: A Neoclassical Theory

Simon C. Parker

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, public management, social entrepreneurship, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, public administration and management, public policy, social entrepreneurship


Simon C. Parker INTRODUCTION A growing body of research highlights the scale and importance of nonmarket entrepreneurship. A central premise of this book is that despite growing interest in this phenomenon, serious gaps in our knowledge remain. The present chapter explores one gap in particular, relating to the people who create and operate non-market enterprises – people I shall call ‘social entrepreneurs’ in this chapter. I ask the following questions: What kinds of people become social entrepreneurs? Why do they choose to participate in non-market rather than market activities? Are people more likely to become social entrepreneurs at particular points in their lives? And if so when? The present chapter contains a novel theoretical framework designed to answer these questions. The extant literature on social and not-for-profit entrepreneurship contains little by way of theory on these issues, so I believe that such a contribution may be timely. In an excellent recent survey, Haugh (2006) draws attention to various motives of people driven to become social entrepreneurs. These motives include the articulation of one’s beliefs; making a contribution to society; and realizing a dream or vision. There are also various claims that social entrepreneurs possess particular character traits (Drucker, 1989; Leadbeater, 1997; Bornstein, 1998; Prabhu, 1999; Thompson et al., 2000). However, there is little agreement about what exactly those traits might be. Weisbrod (1988: 32–33) cites some evidence that managers of non-profit enterprises may attach greater importance to being cheerful, forgiving, and helpful than managers of forprofits – who...

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