Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

The Partnership Network Scopes of Social Enterprises and Their Social Value Creation

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

The Partnership Network Scopes of Social Enterprises and Their Social Value Creation

Article excerpt


Although some types of social enterprises, which is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being, have been studied extensively in the non-profit and sociology literature, scholarly research on social enterprises in the field of management is still developing (Dees and Anderson, 2006; Dorado, 2006; Mair and Martí, 2006; Weerwardena and Mort, 2006). Generally, venture firms, which is ones to proceed especially in the face of danger, create value (Bourdieu, 1990; DiMaggio, 1997) by combining a unique package of resources to address an opportunity (Morris, Kuratko and Schindehutte, 2001) or to provide a solution to a problem (Becker, 1964) for an economic purpose (Kirzner, 1979; Schumpeter, 1934). Social enterprises, like commercial venture firms, create value by bringing together a unique package of resources. However, social enterprises focus on addressing unmet social needs and creating social value rather than serving economic purposes. These unmet social needs are not satisfactorily addressed by government, the market, or society.

As with commercial venture firms, there is much we still don't understand about social enterprises (Dees, 1998), particularly with regards to how they contribute to competitive advantage. In management research, scholars have mostly focused on describing social enterprises rather than predicting their outcomes or their benefits to corporations (Short et al., 2009). Studies on social enterprises in the field of management are mostly conceptual rather than systematic or theoretical (Short et al., 2009). In order to increase the legitimacy of social enterprises in the management field, more theory-driven research questions and quantitative research are necessary (Cummings, 2007).

The resource-based view (RBV) traditionally emphasizes internal sources of competitive advantage gained through heterogeneous resources (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984). When taking on new ventures, firms leverage existing resources to obtain additional resources (Greene, Brush and Hart, 1999) and create new capabilities (Stopford and Baden-Fuller, 1994). In the RBV framework, entrepreneurial strategies are chosen to fill resource gaps through internal development, market transactions, acquisitions, and partnerships (Teng, 2007). Although many researchers have discussed the general importance of resources in commercial ventures (Alvarez and Barney, 2002; Brush, Greene and Hart, 2001; Greene and Brown, 1997), social enterprises (Leadbeater, 1997; Mair and Marti, 2006; Peredo and McLean, 2006; Waddock and Post, 1991) and nonprofit organizations (Galaskiewicz, Bielefeld and Dowell, 2006; Stone, Bigelow and Crittenden, 1999), systematic application of the RBV to the context of social enterprises has not been attempted.

Partnerships, or strategic alliances, may provide adequate resource conditions and strategies in which social enterprises can develop and contribute to competitive advantage (Teng, 2007). Previous studies have focused on how entrepreneurial ventures (Jack, 2010) and nonprofit organizations (Galaskiewicz et al., 2006; Guo and Acar, 2005; Kourula and Laasonen, 2010) utilize partnerships or networks of partnerships to reach their goals. Although these studies cover some aspects of the associations among partnerships, resource conditions, strategies, and competitive advantage, they do not offer a theoretical framework for systematic analysis of the relationship between social enterprises and partnerships. The RBV enables such analysis, facilitating social enterprise research in the management context and providing insight to assist practitioners in better understanding ways to create social value efficiently and effectively.


Social Enterprises

Social enterprises address social needs by engaging in entrepreneurial processes (Mair and Noboa, 2006; Meyskens et al. …

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