The great divides in social entrepreneurship and where they lead us

Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos, Donald F. Kuratko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


While social entrepreneurship (SE) as a field of study has progressed some distance over the past four decades, it is plagued by many unanswered, yet fundamental, questions. The SE literature is filled with an abundance of disputes, controversies, and alternative perspectives. Although this can suggest a healthy and robust discipline, it can also raise questions regarding the legitimacy and relevancy of the field, and uncertainty regarding where it is headed. In this research, we provide a systematic overview of major unresolved issues characterizing the contemporary study of SE in the form of thirteen divides. These divides cover such issues as social value creation, social innovation, nature of the process, agents, entrepreneurial orientation, scalability, venture creation, revenue sources, organizational outcomes, efficacy, and the appropriate disciplinary home. Rather than taking sides on each divide, we discuss how these diverse perspectives can be accommodated based on the process perspective. We present an inclusive approach to SE that provides a common platform for advancing the field while allowing for diverse streams of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1106
Number of pages18
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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