For-Profit Social Entrepreneurship: A Study of Resources, Challenges, and Competencies in UK

Kupolokun, Oluwakemi. 2015. For-Profit Social Entrepreneurship: A Study of Resources, Challenges, and Competencies in UK. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Social Entrepreneurship has received increasing attention over the years. However, little is known about the different business models of social enterprises and how they can be run effectively to realise their full potential (Prabhu, 1999; Nicholls, 2006). Moreover, empirical research has largely focused on non-profit social value creation while the for-profit context of social entrepreneurship has received less attention (Dees, 1998). Therefore, research within the for-profit context can contribute strongly to the advancement of the field, whereby exploring the challenges for-profit social enterprises face is an important research task which will, among other things, shed more light on how they overcome resource constraints. To address these research opportunities, this thesis analyses twelve social enterprises in the UK through original semi-structured interviews, observations, and archival research. It adopts a resource-based lens and employs an interpretivist approach to gain new insights.

With close reference to extant SE literature as well as entrepreneurial capital and bricolage theory, the research identifies three specific challenges experienced by social enterprises operating within the for-profit context. These challenges - that spring from a 'double bottom line' configuration - are: (1) successfully positioning a for-profit social enterprise along the enterprise spectrum; (2) maintaining a balanced focus on contrasting objectives; (3) and countering pressures to compromise on objectives. The present study also critically extends the theory of social bricolage as the findings show that creativity, social skills, resilience and adaptability comprise key competencies that enable bricolage activity by for-profit social enterprises. The surveyed social enterprises have extensively leveraged these competencies while navigating resource scarce environments. The identification of such particular competencies is one significant theoretical contribution the thesis makes to both bricolage theory and the broader social entrepreneurship literature. The study furthermore makes a general contribution to the study of for-profit social entrepreneurship, an outstanding gap in the field.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Social Entrepreneurship, For-Profit Social Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Double-Bottom Line, Bricolage

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


28 February 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Mar 2015 11:18

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:28


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