The Added Complexity of Social Entrepreneurship: A Knowledge-Based Approach

Uĝur Uygur, Alexei M. Marcoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Social entrepreneurship evades easy definition and conceptualization. In this paper, we attempt to advance social entrepreneurship theoretically by examining it conceptually, from a 'theory of the firm' perspective. If social entrepreneurship entails pursuit of a double bottom line (Dees, Harvard Business Review, 76 (1), 54-67, 1998), the added complexity of the social entrepreneurial venture identified by Tracey and Phillips (Academy of Management Learning & Education, 6, 264-71, 2007) should be discoverable from a 'theory of the firm' perspective. Applying the knowledge-based theory of the firm to social entrepreneurship, we aver that social entrepreneurship's added complexity is manifest when social entrepreneurial ventures make decisions about protecting their knowledge. Social entrepreneurial ventures manifest this added complexity in all three ways Tracey and Phillips identify: managing accountability, managing identity, and managing the double bottom line. In contrast to ordinary entrepreneurial ventures, social entrepreneurial ventures have to balance two incommensurable objectives when they make decisions about protection of their knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-152
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social Entrepreneurship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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