Handbook of Research on Social Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Social Entrepreneurship

Edited by Alain Fayolle and Harry Matlay

This timely Handbook provides an empirically rigorous overview of the latest research advances on social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs and enterprises. It incorporates seventeen original chapters on definitions, concepts, contexts and strategy, including a critical overview and an agenda for future research in social entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 11: Social Entrepreneurs in Non-Profit Organizations: Innovation and Dilemmas

Patrick Valéau


Patrick Valéau INTRODUCTION Non-profit organizations (NPOs) provide modern society with a large variety of services: they look after people’s children, take care of the elderly, help the weakest, defend their rights and even entertain them. Above and beyond these activities, these organizations produce additional social benefits such as jobs and community links. Most of all, they question the market, public institutions and the whole of society with new ideas and new values and contribute to making them change. Behind each of theses organizations there is an entrepreneur, or a group of entrepreneurs, who have a vision of a better world and turn it into organized action. Surprisingly, until quite recently, non-profit organizations have been almost ignored by researchers in the domain of entrepreneurship. One explanation could be that their entrepreneurial performances cannot be completely perceived within the classical approach. The rise of ‘social entrepreneurship’ as an instituted area of research may be an opportunity for the non-profit sector to get some acknowledgement and feedback on its work. Many definitions of social entrepreneurship have been proposed in the past 15 years, some including profit-orientated entrepreneurs taking social responsibilities, others requiring some more fundamentally philanthropic orientations. Beyond these differences, all these authors include more or less the same issue: an entrepreneurial process simultaneously targeting economic and social goals. This chapter’s main argument is that the introduction of non-economic goals and values within the entrepreneurial process can change its nature. It does not erase economic targets related to sustainability, growth and efficiency,...

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