Edited by Jill Kickul and Sophie Bacq
Chapter 4: The role of personal values in social entrepreneurship
The importance of values to the social entrepreneur is widely acknowledged in the social entrepreneurship literature. However, in-depth discussion of values and how they motivate the social entrepreneur is extremely rare. Most studies of entrepreneurial motivation focus solely on economic incentives and psychological constructs such as self-efficacy and the need for personal achievement. In this chapter, I examine the question of how an entrepreneur’s values influence the kind of venture she (or he) will create. I draw on values theories from social psychology to explain the role of values as drivers of entrepreneurial action with the purpose of creating social or environmental benefits over and above economic benefits. I theorize that entrepreneurs will place varying levels of priority on values focused on either self-enhancement or self-transcendence and that these prioritizations will strongly influence the importance they place on creating economic or social benefits through their ventures. I provide a framework for understanding how values motivate social entrepreneurs to create non-economic value.
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