The Ethics of Entrepreneurial Shared Value
In the business ethics literature, the growing interest in social entrepreneurship has remained limited to the assumption that pursuing a social mission will clash against the pursuit of associated economic achievements. This ignores recent developments in the social entrepreneurship literature which show that social missions and economic achievement can also have a mutually constitutive relation. We address this gap adopting the notion of shared value (SV) for an ethical inquiry of social entrepreneurship. Using a sensemaking framework, we assume that the emergence of SV propositions can be captured through the analysis of how social entrepreneurs make sense of events of change, selecting the journey of three exemplar cases for an inductive empirical inquiry. From our findings, we propose three themes for further examination. First, the ethical groundings of entrepreneurial SV are mostly shaped by idiosyncratic imperatives that inform both social mission and economic gain from the onset. Second, the ethical groundings of entrepreneurial SV will be likely operationalised as a filtering device, which allows for resilience as well as potentially detrimental blind spots. And third, the ethical groundings of entrepreneurial SV are expressed through ongoing transparency. Whilst there are agendas, these are not necessarily hidden but instead are likely put on show for the scrutiny of markets and communities. We hope that this evidence can add more light to our still modest understanding of the ethical groundings of social entrepreneurship.
KeywordsSocial entrepreneurship Shared value Social mission Economic driver Sensemaking Ethics
I would like to thank the social entrepreneurs who participated in the study for kindly sharing part of their journey, as well as two anonymous reviewers and a guest editor of this special issue for helpful comments that led to improvements in this paper. I also gratefully acknowledge the insightful thoughts and observations of Susan Marlow and Hannah Noke, from the University of Nottingham, which were key for the development of this research.
This study is part of a project funded by CONICYT PFCHA/Doctorado BecasChile/2011 (72120103), and the University of Nottingham International Research Excellence Scholarship awarded in 2011.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The author Patricio Osorio-Vega declares that he has no conflict of interest.
- Berglund, K., & Johannisson, B. (2012). Dark and bright effects of a polarized entrepreneurship discourse … and the prospects of transformation. In K. Berglund, B. Johannisson, & B. Schwartz (Eds.), Societal entrepreneurship: Positioning, penetrating, promoting (pp. 163–186). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bornstein, D. (2007). How to change the world: Social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas (Updated ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Brundin, E. (2007). Catching it as it happens. In H. Nergaard & J. P. Ulhoj (Eds.), Handbook for qualitative methods in entrepreneurship research (pp. 279–307). Camberley: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Cajaiba-Santana, G. (2010). Socially constructed opportunities in social entrepreneurship: A structuration model. In A. Fayolle & H. Matlay (Eds.), Handbook of research on social entrepreneurship (pp. 88–106). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Dees, G. J. (1998). Enterprising non-profits. Harvard Business Review, 76(1), 55–67.Google Scholar
- Dees, G. J., & Anderson, B. B. (2003). For-profit social ventures. International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 2, 1–26.Google Scholar
- Drayton, B. (2006). The citizen sector transformed. In A. Nicholls (Ed.), Social entrepreneurship: New models of sustainable social change (pp. 45–55). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 301–316). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Grenier, P. (2009). Social entrepreneurship in the UK: From rhetoric to reality? In R. Ziegler (Ed.), An introduction to social entrepreneurship: Voices, preconditions, contexts (pp. 174–206). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Martin, R. L., & Osberg, S. (2007). Social entrepreneurship: The case for definition. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 5(Spring), 29–39.Google Scholar
- McMullen, J. S., & Dimov, D. (2013). Time and the entrepreneurial journey: The problems and promise of studying entrepreneurship as a process. Journal of Management Studies, 50(8), 1481–1512.Google Scholar
- Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Perrini, F. (2006). Social entrepreneurship domain: Setting boundaries. In Perrini, F. (Ed.), The new social entrepreneurship: What awaits social entrepreneurial ventures? (pp. 1–25). Cheltenham: Edwards Elgar.Google Scholar
- Pfitzer, M., Bockstette, V., & Stamp, M. (2013). Innovating for shared value. Harvard Business Review, 91, 101–107.Google Scholar
- Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review, 84(12), 77–92.Google Scholar
- Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, 89(1–2), 62–77.Google Scholar
- Social Enterprise, U. K. (2015). State of social enterprise survey 2015. http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk.
- Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Weick, K. E. (2003). Enacting an environment: The infrastructure of organizing. In R. Westwood & S. Clegg (Eds.), Point/counterpoint: Central debates in organisation theory (pp. 184–194). London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Young, R. (2006). For what is worth: Social value and the future of social entrepreneurship. In A. Nicholls (Ed.), Social entrepreneurship: New models of sustainable social change (pp. 56–73). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Yunus, M. (2007). Creating a world without poverty: Social business and the future of capitalism. New York: PublicAffairs.Google Scholar