Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 279–293 | Cite as

Framing Social Problems in Social Entrepreneurship

  • Chantal HervieuxEmail author
  • Annika Voltan


Social entrepreneurship (SE) is perceived as a legitimate and innovative solution to social problems. Yet, when one looks at the literature one finds that the social problems that the SE movement seeks to address and how these problems are identified and defined are not studied. This lack of attention to the defining of social problems in SE has implications for the domain for problems do not exist unless they are recognized and defined, and those that define problems have influence on how these will eventually be addressed. Our paper presents an analysis of framing activities in SE done by the actors involved in the development and promotion of the SE movement. Our analysis reveals that these actors are concerned with creating an ecosystem to support social entrepreneurs. Critical analysis of discourses of these actors reveals a powerful mobilization discourse, one that supports social entrepreneurs as the agents of change. We also find that as the SE movement emerged at the beginning of a cycle of protest against capitalist systems, their framing of SE as system changing of these very systems therefore finds strong resonance with a wide variety of actors.


Social entrepreneurship Social problems Social movement theory Framing processes Critical discourse analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sobey School of BusinessSaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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