Academic journal article Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry

Soci(et)al Entrepreneurship:The Shaping of a Different Story of Entrepreneurship

Academic journal article Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry

Soci(et)al Entrepreneurship:The Shaping of a Different Story of Entrepreneurship

Article excerpt


The interest in societal forms of entrepreneurship has increased in recent decades, emphasizing different kinds of prefixed such as "social" "ecological", "sustainable", "regional". In this article societal and social is at stake. Taking a point of departure in the prefix stories of entrepreneurship we read a wish to break with the grand narrative of entrepreneurship as well as attempts to feed into and draw legitimacy from the grand narrative. In this article we take a point of departure in an initiative taken in Sweden to introduce and finance a program labeled "Societal entrepreneurship". The purpose is to create knowledge about, as well as conditions for, initiatives aiming at improving what is missing or does not work in public structures, and finding new and innovative solutions in order to create an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable society. Applying Burke's pentad it is illustrated that the grand narrative of entrepreneurship consists of the heroic entrepreneur (agent) who creates a kingdom (act) by way of establishing a company (agency) on the market in order to make a profit and contribute to growth (purpose). Applying the concept of Tamara, introduced by Boje, it is further illustrated how the grand narrative of entrepreneurship emphasizes capitalism, rationality and hierarchy in line with the epoch of industrialization, whilst the antenarrative of societal entrepreneurship gives priority to both premodern and postmodern discourses. The importance of community, of non-economic values, artisan craftsmanship is stressed, but also of how societal structures must be changed. The story of societal entrepreneurship thus de-centers human agency seeking to create instability as well as openings for enactment.


Societal entrepreneurship Grand narrative Antenarrative Burkes pentad Tamara

Refix versions of entrepreneurship


The interest in soci(et)al forms of entrepreneurship has increased in recent decades, as have all the discussions on entrepreneurship with or without a specific prefix. Entrepreneurship often shows up as the missing piece in the puzzle - the Holy Grail - which could put everything back on track again. In putting "soci(et)al" as a prefix to entrepreneurship we interpret a wish to emphasize initiatives and endeavors that create social change and develop our society. Discussions on "soci(et)al" seem to address an increasingly up-coming need to rely on citizens' ability to organize in order to create structures that move beyond traditional divisions of the public and private sectors (e.g. Giddens, 2003).

Arguably, we live in a time when it is not obvious if we should, not to mention how we could, take off from historic patterns and reproduce them. Recently, there have been world-wide discussions about climate changes and financial crises, which seem to affect each and every one in the blink of an eye. People engaged in the environmental movement claim that we have to be aware that economy means economizing with resources - we cannot waste all the resources at our disposal (e.g. Beck, 1998). From financial crises we have learnt that there is a need to reconstruct our conception of the "good company". The debate on Social Corporate Entrepreneurship emphasize for example in what ways enterprises can create values, beyond profit, for their shareholders (Carroll, 1999; Schwartz and Carroll, 2003; Commission of the European Communities, 2001; Margolis & Walsh, 2003; Roome, Halme & Dobers, 2006). Moreover, the labour market is often pinpointed as the grand reason for the breakage, as it has turned into being increasingly movable, which calls upon the workforce to become creative and flexible (Florida, 2002). We simply need to rely on human creativity and not on the robot-like human being that was required during the era of Taylorism and mass production (Eliasson, 2006).

Hence, we seem to be part of a time when we are urged to negotiate established patterns and create new ones for coming generations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.