A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship
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A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship

Edited by Anne de Bruin and Simon Teasdale

In the last two decades social entrepreneurship has grown in energy and impact as entrepreneurial spirit has increasingly turned to finding solutions for social, cultural and environmental issues. As social entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, so too has its academic study. A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship brings together contributions from developing paths in the field to signpost the directions ahead for the study of social entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 8: Collective social entrepreneurship

Roger Spear


This chapter challenges some assumptions about the nature of social entrepreneurship – particularly the commonly held view that social entrepreneurship is based on the activities of heroic individuals. This Schumpeterian view may be contrasted with an alternative view that in many cases social entrepreneurship may be better understood as a result of collective action, involving groups of citizens (often with supporting stakeholders), or organisations, or networks and social movements. This collective model of social entrepreneurship may be defined as “collaboration amongst similar as well as diverse actors for the purpose of applying business principles to solving social problems” (p376, Montgomery, Dacin, and Dacin, 2012). The chapter draws on key papers in the literature to identify different types of collective social entrepreneurship, relating to different phases of development: new start, transformations, and growth. The chapter explores theoretical themes underlying these different types; and concludes by considering the implications for future theory development.

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