An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

Voices, Preconditions, Contexts

Edited by Rafeal Ziegler

This timely book sets social entrepreneurship in a historical context, from its philanthropic beginnings in the Victorian era to the present day, against the backdrop of contemporary global capitalism.

Chapter 6: Schumpeter’s Full Model of Entrepreneurship: Economic, Non-Economic and Social Entrepreneurship

Richard Swedberg

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


Richard Swedberg INTRODUCTION 6.1 The reality of social entrepreneurship is by now well established thanks to a wealth of books, articles and other testimonies. To understand what exactly constitutes social entrepreneurship, and how to explain it, however, represents still something of a challenge (for example, Martin and Osberg, 2007). Since social entrepreneurship is also increasingly being taught as a skill, a better understanding of this phenomenon is needed. In an earlier paper I suggested that one can use Joseph Schumpeter’s ideas to get a better theoretical handle on social entrepreneurship (Swedberg, 2006). I emphasised that the work of the young Schumpeter is especially useful in this context. The first and little known edition of The Theory of Economic Development from 1911 contains, for example, a much more dynamic version of Schumpeter’s theory of entrepreneurship than his later work (Schumpeter, 1911). It is also only in his early work that Schumpeter says that one can apply his theory of entrepreneurship to non-economic activities. Social entrepreneurship, I suggested, can be seen as belonging to the category of non-economic entrepreneurship; and making this suggestion opens up the prospect of applying Schumpeter’s theory of entrepreneurship to the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship. This is where my article ‘Social entrepreneurship: the view of the young Schumpeter’ ended. This chapter picks up where the earlier paper left off, and contains an effort to work out in detail the idea that we may use Schumpeter’s theory of entrepreneurship for a better understanding of social entrepreneurship. I have...

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