Social Entrepreneurship
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Social Entrepreneurship

To Act as if and Make a Difference

Björn Bjerke and Mathias Karlsson

This informative book examines some social entrepreneurs in practice in several countries whilst concentrating on entrepreneurs in the third sector. The authors call them citizen entrepreneurs. Such people are not only becoming more common but also more necessary in the world of today.
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Chapter 7: Public entrepreneurs, networks and social capital

To Act as if and Make a Difference

Björn Bjerke and Mathias Karlsson


Some say that Piore and Sabel (1984) brought in business networks in entrepreneurship theories in their book of 1984 when they praised the industrial districts in northern Italy as an alternative economic model. They defined industrial districts as geographical concentrated operations that mainly consist of small firms which specialize in specific goods and services (often as part of an end product). Today there is a more fundamental view on the importance of networks. Networks have existed in all economic systems. What is different now is that networks, improved and multiplied by technology, have entered our lives so deeply that ‘the network’ has become the central metaphor around which our thinking and our economy is organized. If we cannot understand the logic characterizing networks, we cannot exploit the economic change which has now started. (Kelly, 1998, p. 10) The diversity of networks in business and the economy is mind-boggling. There are policy networks, ownership networks, collaboration networks, network marketing – you name it. It would be impossible to integrate these diverse interactions into a single all-encompassing web. Yet no matter what organizational level we look at, the same robust and universal laws that govern nature’s webs seem to greet us. The challenge is for economic and network research alike to put these laws into practice. (Barabási, 2002, p. 217) Networks is the new sociomorphology and the extension of the logics of network influences to a high extent the way and the results of our production processes, experience, power and culture.

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