Book Review – Social Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Economic, Political and Cultural Dimensions



Social Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Economic, Political, and Cultural Dimensions. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2014, 351 pages.

By Anders Lundstrõm, Chunyan Zhou, Yvonne von Friedrichs and Elisabeth Sundin (Editors)



Book review written by Daique Alexandre Souza, Luciana Santos Santiago, Deborah Pavetits Barreto and Branca Terra from Rio de Janeiro State University


This book review is about the “Social Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Economic, Political and Cultural Dimensions” published in 2014, its concept relies in international approaches about social entrepreneurship in the point of view of the editors and authors, who are renowned professors, students, post-graduate, researchers and lectures of the following themes: social entrepreneurship, business administration and innovation.

The editors Anders Lundstrõm, Chunyan Zhou, Yvonne von Friedrichs e Elisabeth Sundin, as well as the authors belong in the following international organizations: Mid Sweden University (Sweden); Shenyang University, (China); Linkõping University, (Sweden); Business School-Tecnológico de Monterrey, (Mexico); University of Bergamo, (Italy); Henley Business School, (United Kingdom); Dublin Institute of Technology, (Ireland); University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom); Massey University, (New Zealand); University of Westminster, (United Kingdom);  CIIDIR Oaxaca National Polytechnic Institute, (Mexico); Champagne School of Management, (France); Business Research Institute – Esbri, (Sweden); University of The Americas Puebla – Udlap, (Mexico); Euromed-Management, (France); Silesian University, (Czech Republic) e Luleâ University of Technology, (Sweden).

This book objective is to address the implementation, the institutionalization and the future perspectives of the social entrepreneurship. To reach this objective, the editors organized the articles based on three dimensions: economic, political and cultural, with national and regional contexts, combining with the necessities of the commercial, social and human development.

The book was presented by the editors in four parts reported hereinafter, in addition there is a final exposé about the authors.

The Part I, denominated “Rethinking Social Entrepreneurship”, includes a Introduction and more three chapters. In Chapter 1 – Introduction, the authors Anders Lundstrõm and Chunyan Zhou approached the rising interest, in the beginning of 1990, the scholars, the professionals, the governments and the public in general, enhanced the research fulfilled, about the theme at hand. The authors also related about the important role that the theme performs in the social and the economic development of all countries. Other topics explored in the Introduction are: the social entrepreneurship put into practice; your social politics; the theory of social entrepreneurship; the columns, the problems and the debates existents in the researches about social entrepreneurship; the social entrepreneurship under the tridimensional perspective (economic, environmental and social) and the negligence verified in these studies, with relation to the humanistic dimension; the institutional and functional perspective in the social entrepreneurship; the institutionalization of the social entrepreneurship; the magnification of this concept; the analysis of the future of the social entrepreneurship and finally, descriptions of the topics of the book.

In Chapter 2, titled “Soci(et)al Entrepreneurship and Different Forms of Social Enterprise”, the author Malin Gawell considers the social entrepreneurship and the different types of social enterprises, presenting various concepts and developments about this theme, in this research field, in order to consolidate the existent definitions of social entrepreneurship, social enterprise and supplying a conceptual base for the discussion of this book. In this chapter, the author still emphasizes the Swedish context, which presents the entrepreneurship as a business with social purpose; the social entrepreneurship and social enterprises, with basis in non-profit principles; the entrepreneurship based in the social economy and the social enterprises – employment integration – and at last, the social entrepreneurship as societal entrepreneurship. The author indicates although the initiatives of social entrepreneurship mentions, in parts, the concepts, aspects or different practices, all of them have to cope with the social engagement combined with the entrepreneurial actions.

Still in Part I, the Chapter 3, named “A Review of Social Entrepreneurship Research”, the authors Joakim Wincent Yvonne Von Friedrichs and Anne Pierre presents a literature revision and a bibliographical research, in periodicals renowned academics, about this theme. The authors highlight the rapid increase of researches about social entrepreneurship in the last decade and the impact of these publications in the academic community. They also illustrated for example, the text written by Eikenberry e Kluver (2004), an impacting article, that was quoted 62 times in research within this area of expertise. The authors determined that the studies about social entrepreneurship are influenced by researchers of various subjects: business, management and accounting, these are the most influential. This Chapter still points out the following universities: Oxford University, Duke University and George Mason University, as those who published most about the theme social entrepreneurship. In the last topic of this Chapter, the authors identified the thirteen areas of discussions that were most found in researches about social entrepreneurship and they are: concepts about social entrepreneurship; characteristics of social entrepreneurship; local social enterprises and conflicts with the community; analysis of how to solve social challenges; need to build sustainable organizations; social structures of innovation; social enterprises organization; commercialization of non-profit entities; communal development; mobilization of the share capital; reduction in poverty through microfinance; types of start-ups in the social entrepreneurship process and the definition of the creation of social value and commercialization.

Ultimately, Chapter 4, entitled “Rethinking Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises: A Three-Dimensional Perspective”, which authors are Anders Lundstrõm and Chunyan Zhou, enriches the social entrepreneurship theory, rethinking the theme under a tridimensional perspective (commercial, social and humanistic). The authors propose that the tridimensional perspective is capable of creating social value for enterprises. Furthermore, the authors suggest that the display of the commercial entrepreneurship, the humanistic entrepreneurship and the social entrepreneurship as three basic parts of social entrepreneurship. To clarify the research field about the principal theme, the authors emphasizes that the central difference between social entrepreneurship and commercial entrepreneurship, reside in the creation of value or in the fulfilment of a social mission that social entrepreneurs strive for. Yet the humanistic entrepreneurship differs as much as the commercial entrepreneurship and the social entrepreneurship, in the creation of internal values, combined with the types of products and services offered by the companies. In the end of this Chapter, the authors suggest revisiting the social entrepreneurship, including its nature (social innovation), its agents (social entrepreneurs) and its organizations (social enterprises). They also point out that the social entrepreneurship should promote the development of social groups, to focus primarily in the social objectives in relation to the commercial objectives and find the creation of social values in detriment of the economic values. Many examples, were quoted to confirm this affirmation. To promote the development of social groups, the authors recalled the case of Rodrigo Baggio Barreto, of the Committee for Democracy in Information Technology (CDI) which provides IT education for poor children and low-income communities in Brazil. To illustrate the focus in social missions, it was presented the case of Premal Shah and Kiva, a non-profit organization (NPO) with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, operate by leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinancial institutions. As an example of the creation of social values, the authors quote the International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), which is an institution dedicated to protect the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries.

In Part II, referred as “Implementing Social Entrepreneurship”, are introduced the chapters starting at five to nine. In Chapter 5, entitled “Entrepreneurial Discovery and Asian Entrepreneurship in the UK”, whose authors are Spinder Dhaliwal e David Deakins. It describes entrepreneurial discoveries in the United Kingdom, illustrating eleven case studies of Asian entrepreneurs, demonstrating that the success of this group is based in the combination of superior technical knowledge with cultural characteristics, the role of Asian families and social networks in supplying resources, in the identification of opportunities and in business developments. Another success factor would be the role of the socio-economic environment and the role of the local political institutions.

In Chapter 6, known as “Corporate Social Responsibility in Family Versus Non-Family Enterprises: An Exploratory Study”, the authors, Giovanna Campopiano, Alfredo De Massis e Lucio Cassia, examined twenty-five enterprises involved with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and aimed to identify the motivations in why they behaved in accordance with these principles and to implement socially responsible actions. To reach this objective, the authors developed a research framework to analyze the background of the socially responsible behavior of the enterprises and to study these actions, categorizing the motivations according with their economic and ethical finality. The first finality was to identify these actions which values the enterprises reputation in front of society and the second finality was to analyze the targets of social initiative and of environmental protection. The authors also studied cases of companies, identifying the behavior practices adopted by them and the nexus of coincidence between the motivation and the socially responsible actions. They also identified the four standard principles emerging in the business behavior that invest in social responsibility, they are: (i) explicit declaration of economic motivations, that increases profits derived from the increase in reputation; (ii) the investments in social actions destined to employees, for the enterprise to better its corporations image, recover its damaged reputation or attend to the necessities of employees; (iii) The aim of the social actions will be the society, demonstrated by the enterprises intention to take care of its stakeholders or when their activities prior harmed the company; (iv) the efforts of the social responsibility with the environment, when an enterprise explicitly announces its intention to protect or to restore its image after having environmental problems in the past. At last, the authors did an analysis of the motivations of CSR and the socially responsible actions in family and non-family enterprises and established the exempt attention to the community and to the employees, they were taken to better their reputation.

Henceforth in Chapter 7, denominated “What Sustainable Entrepreneurship Looks Like: An Exploratory Study from a Student Perspective”, the authors Katia Richomme-Huet e Julien de Freyman reports that sustainable entrepreneurship is perceived as an exploratory study from a students perspective. The authors approached the students vision about sustainable entrepreneurship and in the chapter still presents the results of a study accomplished between students that participated in a sustainable entrepreneurship course, where it was stated that the majority of the interviewed students expressed a short-term dissatisfaction, which comprehends a lack of enthusiasm for risks, or a lack of self confidence in their own capabilities like entrepreneurs, in comparison with the businessmen more experienced. Another result found by the authors are related to the negative economic feasibility of a sustainable project which was noticed by the interviewed students. With the intent to propel a generation of sustainable entrepreneurs, the authors recommended a meeting with researchers, professors and political forces so that the sustainable entrepreneurship can be considered a reference, as well as to contribute with other sectors of society, creating industrial structures, market conditions and general resource conditions.

Now in Chapter 8, known as “Developing Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and Intent”, Jess Co and Sarah Cooper has the objective to determine whether entrepreneurial self-efficacy in students is developed in students participating in a social enterprise module and how this affects their career intentions. The authors affirmed that the students developed abilities and knowledge, which will help them as entrepreneurs but also turn them into valuable employees for any kind of organization. The results also point out that experimental learning provides to students, opportunities of concrete real-life experiences, supplying contexts of active experimentation. However, the study showed that only 42,9% of students that attended the module of social entrepreneurship has the intention to create your own enterprise. Therefore, the authors concluded that the abilities and knowledge to build efficient and innovative social ventures are each time more requested, and courses that help to develop these knowledge and to encourage attitudes for a social economy, has an important role to perform in the construction of a diverse economy.

In Part II the last Chapter, number 9, is titled “How Can a Health-Care Business Acheive Strategy Elasticity in a Crisis Environment?”, the authors Jarmilla Sebestová e Thomas Cooney examine how the health-care business in Czech Republic can achieve strategic elasticity in a crisis environment. The authors reveal that if a small organization and its owner is not a skilled administrator the risk level rises. The study also highlights the tendency for static decision-making and for market exit.

The Part III: “The Institutionalization of Social Entrepreneurship” is divided in three chapters: Improving Entrepreneurial Competency in Low-Income Segments: The Impact of Entrepreneurial Development Agents by the authors René Díaz-Pichardo, Nicolás Gutiérrez and Juan Arriaga-Múzquiz; Entrepreneurship in Society: A Review and Definition of Community-Based Entrepreneurship Research by Anne Pierre, Yvonne Von Friedrichs and Joakim Wincent; and The Rise of Social Innovation Parks by Chunyan Zhou and Anders Lundström.

In Chapter 10, “improving Entrepreneurial Competency in Low-Income Segments: The impact of Entrepreneurial Development Agents”, the authors René Díaz-Pichardo, Nicolás Gutiérrez and Juan Arriaga-Múzquiz, propose a methodology to evaluate the impact of entrepreneurial development agencies in the entrepreneurial competency and performance of the entrepreneurial organizations at the base of the pyramid, in emerging economies. Additionally, the authors suggests that the entrepreneurial development agencies can trigger a process of social integration in segments of low-income through entrepreneurial education and it can be a useful tool for the entrepreneurial competency generation in entrepreneurial enterprises located at the base of the pyramid and at last, contribute to the economic growth and the reduction of poverty in developing economies.

In Chapter 11, titled “Entrepreneurship in Society: A Review and Definition of Community-Based Entrepreneurship Research”, the authors Anne Pierre, Yvonne von Friedrichs e Joakim Wincent presents a revision of definitions about community-based entrepreneurship and emphasizes the necessity to improve the studies about this type of entrepreneurship, characterized by a set of personal characteristics and focusing in practices and political regions. And in the final part of this chapter, there is a list of themes based on previous research with the intention to facilitate the knowledge construction and awaken the interest of researchers in the research fields less explored.

Finally, the last Chapter of this Part, named Chapter 12 – “The Rise of Social lnnovation Parks”, the authors Chunyan Zhou and Anders Lundstrõm demonstrates that the social innovation parks (SIPs), like emerging institutional phenomenon’s, involving government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), non-profit organizations (NPOs), support institutions for social business and social entrepreneurs, and so on. This chapter argues that the SIPs have different forms of action, depending on your strategies, your owners, your sponsors (investors) and your functions performed. A social innovation park can be initiated by universities, government agencies, NGOs, philanthropists and sponsors. These SIPs were defined not as destinations to develop new technologies, but to work with new ideas and to create new structures in areas like schools or health systems. The business of SIPs is to rethink the existing structures and giving suggestions for new structures that will be capable to resolve future demographic and social problems. A SIP – “Social Innovation Parks” – can be a non-profit or a profit-seeking entity, totally or partially detained by an entity related to a university, a governmental agency or a private company. The main mission of SIP is to commit to building different types of networks. This chapter explores viable forms that SIPs can take on and the role of governmental and regional organizations in its development, besides revealing the possibilities presented by SIPs in the resolution of problems in different sectors of society, including ideas for the future systems of schools or the health sector.

In Part IV, “The Future of Social Entrepreneurship”, is about the future of social entrepreneurship and is divided in five chapters (13 to 17), which titles are: Social Entrepreneurship, Gendered Entrepreneurship? by the authors Malin Gawell and Elizabeth Sundin; The Likely Determinants of Social Entrepreneurship and Policy Implications written by Habib M. Kachlami; Social and Political Entrepreneurship: Ways and Means to Develop Sparsely Populated Regions? By Marie-Louise von Bergmann-Winberg; Social Ventures and Regional Development: Important Contributions Unappreciated by the author Habib M. Kachlami; The policy Strategy of Supporting Social Entrepreneurship Based on a Three-Dimensional Approach by the authors Anders Lundström and Chunyan Zhou.

The Chapter 13, the authors analyzed the gender in the spheres where social entrepreneurship operates – social assistance, state of welfare and the third sector. It was stated that in all types of entrepreneurship, be it traditional or commercial, the male gender still prevails over the female gender. In this chapter, it still is prominent that social entrepreneurship data and its relation with the gender are a little dispersed by being an emerging field, therefore the objective was to verify what is available in the academic environment and identify future research necessities.

Now in Chapter 14, the author had as an objective supply a general vision about determinants for the individuals and environments, with different definitions and visions about how to measure the social entrepreneurship, but having as a common point the priority of creating social value in detriment of the economic value. In this chapter, according to the literature about social entrepreneurship, individual attributes associated to the decision to become a social entrepreneur were summarized in seven factors: 1) Gender 2) Age 3) Education 4) Networking 5) Risk-Taking 6) Employment Status 7) Agreeableness. Yet the environmental attributes that influenced the decision of an individual to become a social entrepreneurship, were synthesized in four factors: Wealth, Government Expenditure on Welfare, Individualist Culture, Urbanization. In the aftermath were presented the results of the study, pointing out that the politics destined to the conventional entrepreneurship cannot be adopted to be an incentive for social entrepreneurship. The results of the study also demonstrated that the effects of the individual and environmental attributes of social and commercial entrepreneurship are different and contrasting. Finally, the results show that political formulators should concentrate in the determinants (individual and environmental attributes) that produces positive effect in social entrepreneurship.

Still in Part IV, in Chapter 15, the author describes social entrepreneurship as a variable of entrepreneurship and states that the theories about the theme still were not consolidated, besides to present the definition of the term political entrepreneurship as political actions in connection with governance structures since a multi-level perspective. The objective of this chapter was to develop a social and political entrepreneurship model and compare them in small municipalities in Swedish rural peripheries to analyze possible changes in the socio-economic development in these regions. The results confirmed the necessity of an association of social entrepreneurship with political entrepreneurship, especially in small Swedish municipalities, to solve the high unemployment rate and the problems originated with ageing population.

In Chapter 16, the author investigated the important role carried out by the social ventures in the regional developments. For this purpose, it was presented a broad comprehension of the terms “social ventures”, “regional development”, “organizational studies”, “non-profits organizations”, “community development”, “local development” and  “local entrepreneurship”. Among the terms presented, the contribution of the social ventures was highlighted in the creation of social and economic values in the regions and benefited communities, as well as the direct and indirect contributions. The direct contributions refers to immediate results of the activities of a social venture in a region like the relief of social problems, creation of jobs and generate income or wealth, whereas the indirect contributions are the long-term outcome of the social ventures operations in a region and it includes: creating social capital; building symbiotic networks; re-establishing local economic cycles; stimulating the commercial start-up rate; enhancing the regional brand. In this manner, a list about the main direct and indirect contributions of social ventures was supplied for the regional development, and not only it allowed a better vision for regional professionals and political formulators, but could also it can be relevant for social and commercial ventures to comprehend the areas where it will be concentrated and collaborate in mutual benefit.

Lastly, in Chapter 17, the authors explored the policy strategy of supporting social entrepreneurship in a three-dimensional perspective to increase the knowledge about the theme. This chapter searched to differ institution and function, as well as the similarities in the function exercised by social and commercial ventures. In relation with the institutions, it was defended that each possesses its own ramifications, being part of various contexts in local, regional, national and global degree. It was also shown that institutions are impacted in a different manner by public policies and it is not easy to encourage its development, which results in a lack of dynamic behavior, creating markets for new types of social entrepreneurship. This chapter highlights the three-dimensional perspective of entrepreneurship, presenting the commercial entrepreneurship associated with profit, the social entrepreneurship in a wider vision, including the social enterprises and non-profit organizations, and the humanistic entrepreneurship concentrated to generate internal values for people. For ventures it does not matter if it is social, commercial or humanistic, it can assume a three-dimensional perspective along its operations. In this manner, the three-dimensional perspective results in a new way of thinking about social entrepreneurship.

In the end of the book, the editors wrote about the professional and academic experience of the authors that contributed in the elaboration of this book and that were important in de development of the theme.

In conclusion, this book is a great opportunity for readers to learn about different typologies for analyzing the theme “social entrepreneurship”, combining the economic, political and cultural dimensions, in national and regional contexts, with the needs of commercial, social and human development. National and regional approaches take into account local cultures, inducing the reader to reflect on different approaches to observing the topics to be analyzed. On the other hand, it shows the theme of “social entrepreneurship” linked to social policies and their respective impacts on economies.

In addition, a review of theoretical concepts on “social entrepreneurship” demonstrates the scope of the subject and its impacts linked to the theme, suggesting new concepts to be researched.

Several case studies of companies are also presented, in different continents, where convergent examples are pointed out according to the solutions adopted for business development.

The authors report that the skills and knowledge to build innovative and effective social enterprises are increasingly in demand, and courses that help persons to develop skills for a social economy, have an important role to play in building a diversified economy based on the social economy.




Eikenberry, A. M., & Kluver, J. D. (2004). The marketization of the nonprofit sector: civil society at risk? Public Administration Review, 64(2), 132-140.


Published by the Triple Helix Association  –  ISSN 2281-4515


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