Research Article: 2019 Vol: 22 Issue: 5
Doreen Nyaa Amundam, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Citation Information:. Amundam, D.N. (2019). Enhancing potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurship education: A curriculum content and teaching method model. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 22(5).
Notwithstanding the growing interest in social entrepreneurship (SE) education, the SE field is gradually losing its “social” status. Accordingly, there is a need to emphasise the “social” aspect of SE education in order to clearly distinguish SE from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices implemented by mainstream entrepreneurs. This study argue that, in order to clearly differentiate between social value and CSR, SE education should help develop social entrepreneurs that are both responsible and socially innovative. This study explores teaching content and methods that can enhance the formation of potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs by examining the syllabi of 5 UK business schools offering SE as a course or a module. The study also interviewed 8 SE instructors responsible for designing and delivering these SE courses/modules and 30 students who successfully passed through the SE courses/modules across these five business schools. Drawing on data analysed using comparative analysis methods and the social identity theory, this study presents a model that instructors can draw on and help students categorise and identify as potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs.
Social Innovative Thinking, Responsibly, SE Education, Teaching Content and Methods, Social Status.
Though SE education can provide a frame of reference for responsible entrepreneurship, the SE field is gradually losing its “social” status (Chell et al., 2016). There is the need to emphasise the “social” aspect of SE education in order to clearly differentiate SE from the CSR practices of mainstream entrepreneurs. CSR is a side activity of a mainstream entrepreneur whose main goal is creating economic wealth. Social entrepreneurs develop social enterprises to create social value as their main objective and economic wealth creation is secondary (Porter & Kramer, 2011). Social value is one that changes the lives of stakeholders in an impactful manner (social value UK, 2016). Examples of social value creation include projects that focus on enhancing local communities, safety, reducing unemployment, enhancing social inclusion, raising health care standards and buildings good political structures and education. To clearly differentiate social values and CSR, SE education should help develop responsible social entrepreneurs which by this study are social entrepreneurs who remain true to the original idea of creating social value and reinvesting profit for more social change activities (Cornelius et al., 2008).
Also, there is the need for SE education to develop social entrepreneurs that create realistic social value in an innovative way (Porter & Kramer, 2011; Tracey & Phillips, 2007) which by this study is the ability to come up with new ideas or ways to resolve social problems. Examples of social entrepreneurial innovations may include how to generate the financial resources needed to achieve social value creation objectives (Tracey & Phillips, 2007) and creating new legal structures that will allow realistic social enterprises to flourish (Kury, 2012). SE education should develop innovative social entrepreneurs who are able to balance economic wealth creation and social value creation in terms of how money made through doing business can be deployed for social change (Porter & Kramer, 2011).
This study acknowledges the view as established by extant studies that SE education should focus on values-led practice with emphasis on social values and ethics (Chell et al, 2016; Zainal et al, 2017) and teachings that enhance the creation of realistic social value in an innovative way (Porter & Kramer, 2011; Tracey & Phillips, 2007). However, this study based on the social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and argues that, the extent to which SE education can develop social innovative thinking and responsible social entrepreneurs depends to some extent on whether the SE teaching content and methods develop in students a deep seated social identity that relates to social innovative thinking and responsible SE. Social identity theory presents a group as an important source of self-esteem and pride. This theory also suggests that, groups members encourage each other to stay focused. In the course of thriving to respect group norms and enhance group image, group members enhance the status of the group in which they belong to. Therefore if responsible and social innovative thinking can be presented as a distinct social category to which students can aspire and to which students can identify with and become active members, then SE instructors can help facilitate this developmental process if the right teaching content and methods are employed.
Some researchers have attempted to give an insight on the teaching methods that can lead to social innovative thinking outcome. For example triple bottom line concept suggest the need to make student understand that, SE is not just about doing good. Boschee (2001) emphasize the importance to engage students in sustainable social business opportunities that allow students to do good while making profit as this exposes students to an adequate learning opportunity. Oster et al. (2004) added that, the profit motive experiential learning approach act as a stimulant to get students to think and fully partake towards the quality of the project as grades will in the traditional class-room exams. Similarly Mehta et al. (2012) suggested that, realistic and innovative solutions in a resource constrain environment generated through student teams from different disciplines can also enhance system thinking. Furthermore, student have to be expose and work with a vast network of collaborators and partners (faith-based organizations, communities, NGO, government and UN agencies and industries) to ensure the synergies and capital required to facilitate sustainable solutions.
In terms of being responsible as a social entrepreneur, Miller et al. (2012) competency content analysis study found that, practitioners of SE ranked least the importance of teaching students to value social impact over financial impact. This is shocking given that, social entrepreneurs are said to be mission-driven and economic value is just a supporting role (Austin et al., 2006). The question therefore arises as to whether the so-called social entrepreneurs are making deceptive claims? Auerswald (2009) supported this view by arguing that, SE practitioners need to balance financial goals with social value creation. Kay (2012) noted that, social entrepreneurs are expected to remain true to their social objective and values. To add, Dacin et al. (2010) acknowledge that, creating and maintaining a significant social value greatly differentiate social entrepreneurs from others. Indicating social entrepreneurs are recognised depending on the significance of the social impact they make.
Chell et al. (2016) noted that, we should avoid the assumption that all social enterprises are set up to “do good”. Bouchikhi (2015) supported this view by saying: “I was exposed recently to a young entrepreneur who claimed openly that his internet platform is a for-profit business although its mission is framed as a social business”. How a social enterprise is organised, its intention and outcomes needs to be examine and Chell et al. (2016) relates this to the link between SE, ethics and “the social”. Student need to understand that, the prime aim of SE is the creation of social value and their success is measured based on the extent to which they achieve “social transformation” (Austin et al., 2006)
There is the need for business schools to rethink the use of teaching content and methods related to the formation of potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs. When SE educational content and teaching methods are matched properly with outcomes, there is the high probability that, education will play a great role in motivating and creating social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs. By so doing, clearly differentiating SE from the Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices implemented by mainstream entrepreneurs. This is very vital towards maintaining the “social” status of the field since more is expected from social entrepreneurs to create realistic social value in an innovative way (Chell et al 2016; Porter & Kramer, 2011; Tracey & Phillips, 2007).
This study address the research question “which teaching content and methods enhances the formation of potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs”. The study employed both the primary and secondary data collection methods. The inclusion criteria for selecting SE course instructors and students for primary data collection were: at least 2 years of experience in teaching SE either as a module/course and most be a student who has successfully passed through the SE module/course. Secondary data was gotten through examining the syllabi and documentaries of 5 UK business schools related to the current SE curriculum content and teaching methods. Primary data collection was carried out in two phases. In the first phase, semi-structured interviews were administered to 8 SE course instructors. The second phase involved the administering of semi-structured interviews to 30 students who successfully passed through the SE module/course to draw their feedback. It should be noted that, the interview guide for students was generated and students were interviewed after all the syllabi were examined and all the course instructors interviewed.
Interviews were recorded and then transcribed verbatim (Yin, 1994). Within transcripts and documents, important parts of the text that represent a theme or a concept were identified to develop a coding system (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). The interview guide for instructors and students were the same for all participants. However, follow up questions were developed as each interview proceeds. During this step, author notes and preliminary codes from the syllabi documents reviewed emerged. Immediately after each interview, the researcher debriefed and wrote down what happened. After which, the researcher listened to the audio record of the previous interview to prepare for the next. This debriefing and preparation for each interview yielded preliminary concepts and themes that formed part of the analysis.
While having in hand the preliminary codes, the transcripts were coded. The preliminary coded data were revised and a new coding system that takes into consideration all the material was developed. Each code was named and defined. New themes emerged while synthesizing and clarifying codes. Once the transcripts and syllabi were coded, the data was revisited to see if codes are redundant or are subsets of each other. To do this, all data sources were examined together. Codes were clarified and redefined. Codes from each student transcript were compared with that of other students. Similar codes identified in half or more than half of the students’ transcripts were noted. These similar codes were then compared with codes from the syllabi and course instructors’ transcripts to further identify key similarities.
The findings in this section is presented to explain teaching content and methods that can or has enhance social innovative thinking and responsible SE around the emergent explanatory themes of teaching content and methods enhancing social innovative thinking and teaching content and methods enhancing responsible SE. To ensure the reflection of the situations of respondents, quotes from the data are used (Bansal & Corley, 2012; Pratt, 2009).
Findings show that contemporary and historical issues are examined by instructors to enhance critical and social innovative thinking in the context of SE as could be deduce in this quote for example: “we ask them to look at co-operative movements and their history and then ask questions when it was socially innovative or how innovative they are at the moment. We hope to provide students not just with the tools and techniques required for social entrepreneurship but for supporting SE. This includes the ability to think about new legal structures. Legal frameworks in terms of new types of financial support for instance”. It can be noticed from this quote that, students are expected to know how socially innovative social enterprises are. This might have pushed them to challenge their thinking on issues surrounding it growth and what needs to be done for social enterprises to flourish as is the case of this student for example: “for me what I have learned is to take the knowledge I have and implement it within my own country. I will focus on the legal framework. That is the biggest issue of social enterprise in Jamaica. There are no structures that can help define social enterprises. I could have been more specific in looking at a business idea but the absence of a legal structure is stopping most social enterprises from flourishing”.
Examining the biography of current social enterprises/entrepreneurs enhanced student thinking innovatively as is the case of this student for example: “In my country, we do not have many social enterprises. Reviewing books from different parts of the world gives me ideas”. It should be noted that most of the students are international students from different countries. This might have enabled them to identify new ideas and think on how it can work best in their various countries of origin.
Employing the resource base theory in combination with the concept of bricolage and effectuation as indicated by majority of the students was more effective as could be deduced from this quote for example: “first of all we did not have money. We actually had to think of a way to get money without the money. This pushed us to think of a lot of different ways. This was the main part actually. We thought about the people who can give us this money. We also thought of how to give something different to the charity. This enabled us to innovate.” It can be noticed the financial resource was not available and students were forced to think collectively in groups on how to get this resource in order to successfully execute their social business idea. According to the syllabus report: “entrepreneurship requires the ability to see what others do not. If opportunities were clear to everyone, they would not be opportunities. To succeed, you must engage your creative side, and remain open to challenging your currents assumptions and beliefs.”
Also, divergent and convergent thinking tools and the business model canvas was identified as a common teaching content that enhanced social innovative thinking as in this case for example: “the business model canvas really helps to get everything written down and set up in a nice and logical way. Any one that looks at it can see what you are thinking. This really helps us in our group”. One of the instructors mentioned that: “we use the osterwalder business model canvas to map the organisations. This is an academic exercise. By looking at an organisation run by a charity, we assume that, the capabilities used in running a commercial business can strengthen the business run by a charity within the charity objectives”.
As for teaching methods, students in some schools are expected to plan and implement a social business idea in groups. Also, after implementation, groups are expected to present and share their experience. Some instructors employ and believe in working in teams towards identifying or achieving a social entrepreneurial opportunity as could be deduced in this quote for example: “we spent a lot of time teaching creativity. Creativity through bricolage and effectuation and team work”. This may actually enhance a collaborative effort to think in an innovative way toward developing new social entrepreneurial insights and individuals who are willing to be agent of change as is the case of this student for example: “raising money for the charity made me see how it is important to do things differently through innovation. From the beginning, we brain storm the type of event we want to do that will create value as well as generate money. The idea to create some sort of a global restaurant came up and this is something that has never been done before because our university is quite multinational. The next step was to come up with ideas on how to meet our goal and this forced us to innovate. Initially we did not know what to do but thinking collaboratively we figured out what to do step by step”.
One of the interviewed instructors mentioned that: “when people are connected to something, they tend to be more engaged in terms of their thinking on what is needed to succeed”. Unlike commercial entrepreneurs whose main focus is on profit, social entrepreneurs focus both on profit and social value creation. This demands commitment to be successful and having a personal connection to this type of business might be a driving force. To get students to think outside the box, students also study real social enterprises cases in groups: “the huge part of the current curriculum particularly case studies get them to think outside the box and not to restrict them to what textbooks say. Sometimes you might need to do something differently and that relationship with real life organisations is very important”.
Education on core values of integrity might influence some students to realise the need to create social value as can be deduced from this quote for example: “It’s all about ethics and how integrity is involved in teaching SE. The students must believe and be transformed and become doers. It is not just a class room kind of thing. There are two important things. One is to cover the economic cost and two is to create the social value. A lot of social enterprises depend on volunteers. They do not have their own source of income. They need to have income”. Education might have encourage students to engage in a business that has as its main priority to create social value as could be deduced from this quote for example: “We wanted to generate money to support a charity and to us it was not more of a money thing. It was more of a social thing. It really gave the opportunity to learn on the job and reflect”.
Also, measuring outcomes by using the quantitative SROI measurement technique was identified as a common teaching content that enhanced responsible SE as is the case of this student: “Measuring SROI really helps. We look at organisations and really identify the social impact created and the outcome. When we examine outcomes, we can improve our expertise on our genuineness”.
Furthermore, ethical social enterprise branding and transparency in the reporting of the social value created is very important for social enterprises as could be deduced from the response of one of the instructor: “sometimes people need funding for their social activities. People need to figure out if it is just a business that happens to be benefiting people or is it actually a social enterprise and we have to be social ourselves”. One of the instructor suggested during the interview that, to enhance responsible SE, students should review books on the biography of social entrepreneurs. The syllabus report and the interview responses show that, a lot of work is done on leadership as could be deduce in this quote: “We do a lot of work on leadership. We do look at some famous entrepreneurs for example Mohammed Yunus. We look at the social background of famous social entrepreneurs to see their philosophy and the values they hold.”
As for teaching methods, comparing and analysing real social enterprise cases enhanced students motivation to be more responsible as is the case of this student for example: “We looked at multinational companies and ask whether their CSR is achieve and we look at a social enterprise and ask whether when you stay in a social enterprise. Can you remain true to your social mission?” The syllabus report shows that, guest speakers with a good ethical background are invited to boost student’s morals and share their experiences. Similarly, most of the students indicated that, listening to some guest speakers is what has also encouraged them to be responsible as can be deduce in this quote: “John O’Shea is one of Ireland’s most celebrated humanitarians. Since his retirement from GOAL in 2012, John has set himself the challenge of inspiring other people to become social entrepreneurs”.
Interviewing a social entrepreneur identified as a mentor also enhanced responsible SE as is the case of this student: “I asked the person I interviewed to get me some information to help me with my business. Interviewing him opened my eyes up to everything he has done, what he has gone through and his future plans. Identifying the right mentor provides the encouragement to continue with what your intentions are”. Furthermore, working in groups encouraged students to be responsible as is the case of this student for example: “discussing in group helps share relevant ideas and always remind each other about our purpose whereas working alone, you may ignore a relevant thing that really makes you responsible”.
Drawing on the analysed data and the social identity theory, this paper present a proposed model. The process of matching parts of the analysed data to the social identity theoretical criteria is based on perceived fit. The fit between the data and how quotes are associated with the social identity theory will provide evidence to show how students can actually categorize and identify as social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs if the right teaching content and methods are employed as can be deduce in these quotes for example: “I learned how to be innovative and build a business proposal. How to generate the resources needed to run a business. That experience gave me the opportunity to practically organise an event”. “It makes me see myself doing something in this field and now, each time I do something or get involved in something I always think of how that particular thing can help someone”. It can also be noticed from this quote that, some students did not feel categorized and identified due to the methods employed in teaching: “The module was more theoretical. So it does not really offer the opportunity to be innovative. I think to be innovative or think in an innovative way, to me it demands more practice rather than just class room knowledge.”
The proposed model is shown in Figure 1 and Table 1.
Figure 1 A Proposed Curriculum Content/Teaching Method Model in Educating Potential Social Innovative Thinking, Responsible, Social Entrepreneurs
|Table 1 Example of Respondent Responses and Syllabi Report Selected Quotes on Teaching Content and Methods that can Enhance Social Innovative Thinking, Responsible, Social Entrepreneurs|
|Content and teaching methods that can enhance potential social innovative thinking social entrepreneurs|
|Codes||Example of instructors response and syllabi report selected quotes||Example of students response selected quotes|
|The history and contemporary issues of SE and the biography of current social enterprises/entrepreneurs||Instructor 1: “Looking at what has already been innovated at the moment and then possibly developing it in the future. We do a module call strategy and innovation. We look at historical and contemporary issues. For example we ask them to look at co-operative movements and their history and then ask questions when it was socially innovative or how innovative they are at the moment”.
Syllabus 1: “Understand the context of SE in different countries and how social impact affects governmental policies”.
|Student 1: “Obviously, you need to know the history of why things are the way there are. How we got here. Thinking about cooperative and see how to re-emphasise value and not only about profit”
Student 2: “Book review on the social engagements of well known social entrepreneur. As I said, in my country, we do not have many social enterprises. Reviewing books from different part of the world gives me ideas”.
Student 3: “Looking at the enterprises that already exist and how far they have gone is what makes the difference. Understanding what worked and what did not”.
|Resource base theory||Instructor 1:“We use the resource base theory and techniques of thinking about the resources that one has or how to get access to resources. We hope to provide students not just with the tools and techniques required for entrepreneurship or SE but for supporting SE. This includes the ability to think about new legal structures. Legal framework in terms of new type of financial support for instance”.
Instructor 2: “The point of applying theories from other disciplines into the social context of entrepreneurship really gets students to think outside the box. We ask students to present to us and the second seminars involve using a particular theory from SE or from other management courses and apply them in the social context of entrepreneurship”.
|Student 12: “This component is one of the most important to me. You need to know what you have and to use it in different ways that can be applied to the situation to get resources”.
Student 5: “Resource base theory enables you to analyse your resources and think on how to use them and achieve your goal”.
Student 6: “Resource base theory and techniques of thinking about the resources that one has or how to get access to resources for e.g. grants, donations”
Student 3: “I will focus on the legal framework. That is the biggest issue of social enterprise in Jamaica”.
Student 7: “This was the main part actually. We thought about the people who can give us money. We also thought of how to gives something different to the charity. This enabled us to innovate”
|The concept of bricolage and effectuation||Syllabus 4: “You will be exposed to a variety of new business ideas and concepts. Read Chapter 2 & 3 in Effectual Entrepreneurship. Notify your seminar tutor the entrepreneur that you wish to work with for your individual assignment. In embedding opportunity recognition theories into the SE curriculum we hope to produce individuals who aspire to be agents of change”.
Instructor 4: “We spent a lot of time teaching creativity. Creativity through bricolage and effectuation. This two and team work for they cannot work alone. So they have to work with different models we teach them all this”.
|Student 7: “We use what we had at hand and make something out of it. We examine our resources and then figure out how we can use it to achieve our goals. It was very much problem solving. First of all we did not have money. We actually had to think a way to get money without the money. This pushed us to think a lot of different ways. Raising money for the charity made me see how it is important to do things different through innovation. The idea to create some sort of a global restaurant came up and this is something that has never been done before because our university is quite multinational”.|
|Divergent and convergent thinking/ Business model canvas||Instructor 3: “The problems that have been existing for many years and there is the need to think of different ways to approach them. We have to be innovative so a lot of what we are doing is to encourage students to use a lot of different tools and techniques to enable them to think in a more creative way and to develop their thoughts and ideas”.
Instructor 2: “The whole concept of divergence and convergence thinking is a good one. The point of applying theories from other disciplines into the social context of entrepreneurship really gets students to think outside the box. Students start thinking what is the social impact of theories that may be gotten from marketing, accounting etc which makes students to think and say what the social impact of this is. There are 3 points: thinking tools, drawing on example (organisations) and drawing on theories from outside SE and apply them to SE”.
|Student 8: “Divergence and convergence thinking make you think on how you can develop yourself and think like a social entrepreneur”.
Student 15: “The business model canvas really helps to get everything written down and set up in a nice and logical way. Any one that looks at it can see what you are thinking. This really helps us in our group”.
|Interviewing social entrepreneurs, guest speaking||Instructor 5: “We have a lot of guest speakers. We have over 20 guest speakers from different social enterprise background. So we invite practising social entrepreneurs, people who have set up social enterprises, we invite people who have support social works, like social enterprise UK. We invite people who have help social enterprises to establish. We particularly focus on public sector mutual which has span out of the public sector. Example is the great leisure which is a leisure service social enterprise another is Hackney transport”
Instructor 8: “We have pass students who are running social enterprises who come in and talks to students. We have the change maker hub and students are encouraged to engage. We have change maker two weeks ago where students do activities across the campus that are related to the social enterprise agenda and they came back and report to other students what have been learned and share their experience”
|Student 17: “We actually interviewed social entrepreneurs on how they have structured their organisation. This really opened my mind”.
Student 10- “We had speakers who come in and talk about their own businesses so it gives you ideas. We did fieldwork which incorporate interviewing social entrepreneurs. The interaction and interviewing was important. The practical aspects works for me”
Student 21: “To me anything that has to do with firsthand experience. Like the case where we visited the social enterprise, we actually interview them on how they operate and it was a good experience. It gives the opportunity to be able to think and learn from other people experience towards improving your ideas”.
|Interactive group discussion on real life cases||Instructor 8: “Demonstrate that they can work positively in groups and communicate effectively using text and presentation skills both internally and externally where necessarily. They should be able to offer solutions to a number of problems in a cost effective and innovative way for a specific organisation that could be in the for profit or not for profit by processing knowledge in this manner, through connection with personal experience, it becomes more deeply ingrained and available for application in the future”.||Student 18:“We have groups and we come from different countries so is important to share ideas. This gives the opportunity to get different options towards finding solutions”.
Student 14: “I really prefer team work on a real life project and interactive group discussions. Interactive class rooms is a way of putting people under pressure”.
|Group social business planning, implementation and presentation||Syllabus 4: “The most effective way to understand entrepreneurship is to practice it. This module takes an experiential approach and students are expected to interact with the business community. Entrepreneurship requires the ability to see what others do not. If opportunities were clear to everyone, they would not be opportunities. To succeed, you must engage your creative side, and remain open to challenging your currents assumptions and beliefs. The group work element is specifically designed to help students work with others as they would need to in the world of work both in terms of developing their communication skills as well as learning from each other”
Instructor 4: “Our social entrepreneurship course actually does real projects. That is what we believe. We also do case studies but everything is real. Is not a class room theoretical kind of thing. We believe in real experiential learning where students interact with real business people. The business plan will be what they believe and their experience in the real world. We see it as reflective”.
Syllabus 3: “You will develop creative thinking skills, you will engage in real projects where you will be pitching for real funding to enable you to carry out your business proposal. This is your chance to develop a business plan for a social venture”.
|Student 22: “We do a lot of presenting of ideas, concepts, and historical things in the form of practice. That is important to me. I get a lot out of that as its promotes the values and share them with others. Presentation part is important”.
Student 7: “Initially we did not know what to do but thinking collaboratively we figured out what to do step by step. First of all we did not have money. We actually had to think a way to get money without the money. The idea to create some sort of a global restaurant came up and this is something that has never been done before”.
|Personal connection||Instructor 7: “Personal connection with the social idea has been helpful because that is what makes you commit and be a real social entrepreneur. I think if students have a personal connection with the subject, they are going to be much more open to ideas to be creative. For example challenging students to come up with a social enterprise idea and find out whether students have personal connection with those particular issues. They will turn to be very well engage in it to be much more innovative and committed to it and because you are challenging and taking students out of their comfort zones, you have to be aware of that and make sure they have the view and understanding”.||Student 22: “If you are personally connected to something, you will work harder to achieve it”.|
|Group discussions and presentations on general management theories in the context of SE||Instructor 6: “We ask students to present to us by looking at all the management modules and ask them to apply all that has been learned in the widest context of the social context of entrepreneurship. We expect students to be interactive with other students and to draw practices from all other management courses. Students are expected to use a particular theory from SE or from other management courses and apply them in the social context of entrepreneurship and this could be about marketing, or about the triple bottom line etc. We try to use models that have been developed elsewhere so that they can see that, the concept of SE can be interpreted differently in different context. We look at the social origin theory. This explains the forms of organisations within a particular context. Comparing and contrasting organisations within different countries of the world and how they have come up with different forms of social enterprises which can be explain in terms of the social origin”.||Student 14: “We combine business and social objectives and reflect in teams. We do a lot of presenting of ideas, concepts, and historical things in the form of practice. That is important to me. I get a lot out of that as it promotes the values and share them with others”.|
|Content and teaching methods that can enhance potential responsible social entrepreneurs|
|Core values of integrity/the dark side of CSR||Instructor 1: “We teach ethics. We ask students how they see the world and what type of a world they want to create. From there, they can develop a kind of social enterprise. This we believe will shape their minds about the social enterprise they eventually want to create. We teach students about the core values of integrity”.
Instructor 2: “There are two things that are needed to try and open students’ eyes to the possibilities of social enterprises 1. The opportunities that is available in the different types of organisation, 2. The dark side and critical awareness of traditional businesses”.
|Student 29: “Core values of integrity like having a list of things that remind you of what is expected from a social entrepreneur. As I said is more personal because if you are in an enterprise of such nature, you will not recruit any type of person but someone with good ethics”.
Student 4: “I think having moral values that keeps reminding of the need to be responsible while doing business is important. Aspect that will keep reminding of how to be compassionate, kind is something I am really developing and I think SE is a good foundation”.
Student 1: “ I have been more aware about how companies do things not actually because they really want to help but because they want to use that to get more customers”.
|Measuring outcomes||Instructor 5: “We have a whole module on evaluating social outcomes. This covers a wide variety of different techniques and methodologies. It focuses in particular on the SROI technique. We use case. In SROI modules, case studies are used to illustrate the techniques and issues around identifying the social impact of a particular enterprise”.
Syllabus 5: “Write a proposal for a Social Impact Evaluation of a Social Enterprise of your choice. The paper should include a background on the organisation and its programmes, a plan for measuring its social impact that one could actually execute in the real world, an analysis of how measurement is currently being taken up by other similar organisations and a review of how the industry/sector that the social enterprise operates currently handles the reporting of social impact measurement. You must then recommend what could be considered best practice based on other related industries/sectors”.
|Student 19: “The SROI component really kind of gives at each stage the impact the organisation have created. How it affects the beneficiaries in the whole process”.
Student 18: “It is important to measure and know the level of impact created. It also helps determine how effective what has been put in works”.
|Ethical social enterprise branding|| Instructor 6: “Sometimes people need funding for their social activities. And people need to figure out if is just a business that happens to be benefiting people or is actually a social enterprise and we have to be social ourselves. In our teaching, when looking at the education side of it, we very much have to identify where the ethics are, we have to be realistic”.
Instructor 4: “We look at case studies. We will look at a multinational company and ask whether their co-operate social responsibilities is achieve and we look at a social enterprise and ask when you stay in a social enterprise. Can you remain true to your social mission”.
Instructor 8: “We have the responsibility when advertising the program and recruiting students to be very clear about what they will be doing in the program. Probably anybody can work-up and set up anything and call it a social enterprise”
Instructor 7: “We ask students to research themselves and see if organisations really create social value as they say. We expect them to take the criticism of CSR and create something new that will actually create value in different context”.
|Student 13: “This really has to do with the companies. They need to be transparent in their reports on their activities”.
Student 1: “One of the enterprise I studied, look at how one lady set up a social enterprise and was really un ethical but she later realise and went back to ethics. So I think learning about other people experience really helps me”
Student 20: “I will make sure the profit I make is redirected back for more social change activities”.
|Book review on the biography of social entrepreneurs||Instructor 5: “We look at the social background of famous social entrepreneurs to see the philosophy and the values that they hold. For example Mohammed Yunus, we do a lot of work on him. We get students to read his biography and his book review of his life”||Student 6: “I really applaud people who have tried to maintain integrity and really communicate transparently for example when it has to do with funding. This is where I think people turn to fall down. I think as far as individuals can communicate effectively what they have done and why, I am ok with it because sometimes we have to do what we have to do to sustain a business”.|
|Guest speakers/Networking||Instructor 6: “John O’Shea is one of Ireland’s most celebrated humanitarians. He has helped raise over a billion dollars. Since his retirement from GOAL in 2012, John has set himself the challenge of inspiring other people to become social entrepreneurs”.
Instructor 8: “We do invite guest speaker. Students find their own mentor. They work with their own mentors and have their own networks with social entrepreneurs depending on the type of enterprise they want to create in the industry. We call the CEO from Aspire to come and talk to students last week and he gave a talk on the social impact of Aspire and he gave them a book which they gave to the council to justify their funding. In this Aspire book you find a case study of individuals that have been affected by their activities”.
|Student 11: “Listening to guest speakers during classroom seminars where they outline what social value their organisation create was inspiring”
Student 2: “Identifying the right mentor gives the encouragement to continue with what your intentions are. People need to interact and learn how others are successful”.
|Group comparative analysis of real social enterprise cases||Instructor 7: “Students compare and contrast social entrepreneurs and traditional entrepreneurs. Look at some of the similarities and differences. Some areas where you need to have particular skills and competences that differentiate a social from a commercial entrepreneur”.
Instructor 1: “Students have to critic what cooperate social responsibility is. This is a big area where they get a lot of different ideas around SE. we get them to explore what is meaningful and how ethical considerations and CSR can be applied to social enterprises. They do that by comparing and contrasting between multinational. For example we might get them to compare between shell and a social enterprise type of organisations”.
|Student 18: “Case study where we examine the social impact of particular social organisations. Looking at the pro and corns. You can have ideas but working together enable you get other people point of views. I learn more when discussing in groups”.|
|Team work on a real social projects/presentation||Instructor 2: “Practice based integrated curriculum. This is something very new. Here, is just like a doctor. If you want to be a doctor, you need a hospital. So is the same thing. If you want to produce a social entrepreneur, you need a system where the students can become social entrepreneurs. An environment for them to practice. Then only they can see themselves as part of the system. Students seat in a circle, generate social ideas and discuss social issues”.||Student 5: “I think you need to be interactive. People need to interact and learn how others are successful”.|
History and Contemporary Issues of SE
Knowing the history and contemporary issues surrounding SE can facilitate critical thinking by knowing what has been done so far in terms of how social issues have been addressed innovatively. The findings of this study show that, employing this concept has enhanced innovatively the thinking of majority of the students. SE instructors can use this to get students to identify amongst the category of social innovative thinkers. Instructors can get students to discuss in groups and think of new approaches towards tackling existing social issues or identify new ones and how to address them. In the context of UK, majority of the students are international students. Mixing students from different nations in groups and encouraging the sharing of some strategies that have been used in tackling social issues in their country of origin. This can facilitate the exchange of ideas and act as a starting point for students to think on how strategies that worked in different contexts can be adopted or modified and employed in their context.
One of the key contemporary issues surrounding social organizations globally which few students and instructors brought up is the absence of a legal framework which is stopping many social organizations globally from flourishing. A typical example is that of legal structures adopted in some European countries which have provided a conducive environment for social enterprises to flourish as welfare actors. In Europe, the cooperative and association legal forms have been use to set up must social enterprises and this has continued to be the case in most European countries. Europe can be compared to Africa and Asia which have no legal frameworks or the USA where the current legal structures have not been updated in the last 50 years and therefore fail effectively to regulate the growing business activities of service-producing non-profit organizations (Galera & Borzaga, 2009). Discussing this issue in groups has encouraged few students to look deeper and think on how legal structures that worked in different contexts can be modified and employed in their country of origin. Thus, this has made them to potentially view themselves as part of the group of people that seek to provide innovative solutions towards tackling social issues.
Resource Base Theory, Bricolage and Effectuation Concept
Both general management and SE theories are employed in the teaching of SE. Findings from this study show that out of all these theories, the resource base theory and the concept of bricolage and effectuation can re-enforce social innovative thinking to a greater extent. However, the methods employed to pass across this theory/concept to students’ matters. Similar to this study, evidence from Brush et al. (2001) research shows that team are significantly more likely to achieve success than individual entrepreneurs. However, to create unique advantages, individual capabilities must be transferred into the venture and the organizational strengths by entrepreneurial team.
The resource base theory enables the examination of the available resources towards achieving the expected outcome. According to this theory, the survival of a business idea depends on the resources choices made. New ventures can only create wealth in the long run if early strategies are based on resources that are combined in an innovative way (Brush et al., 2001). Bricolage is associated with the notion of “making do” and the combination of available resources to create solutions. By applying this notion, social entrepreneurs are expected to use the resources at hand and create something out of it. It’s also expect social entrepreneurs to avoid environmental limitations which could be institutional as excuses for not exploiting and creating something with what is at hand (Fisher, 2012). Effectuation is associated with individuals willingness to use what they can afford and experiment within their constrain boundaries. It also demands flexibility and the ability to establish relationships with partners who could be sponsors, suppliers and customers (Chang & Chalcraft, 2014)
SE instructors can draw on this theory/concept by forming students groups with “no fund” and challenging them to use the ideas behind this theory/concept. Collectively, students can generate a social business idea, implement it and share their experiences through presenting to the rest of the class. This is very important in the context of SE education as compared to CSR since most social problems occur in environments with limited financial resources and social entrepreneurs are expected to solve these problems (Konda et al., 2015). According to Brush et al. (2001) the existence of abundant financial resources can hinder the thinking process. To build a resource base, groups should also draw on individual’s human resources. Students should be encouraged to exploit the first resource that exists in them as social entrepreneurs which could be education or their experiences. With no funding, students are compelled to use what is available which in this case, is their human resource as a group. This encourages collective thinking and creativity towards generating the resources needed to achieve their social business idea. According to social categorisation, a group is an important source of self-esteem and pride (Tajfel & Turner, 1979).
Findings from this study show that, as opposed to students from business schools that took a more theoretical angle who felt dissatisfied, all of the students in the business school that employed a practice base incorporated curriculum (group social business planning, implementation and presentation) were satisfied. According to Dowey (1934) nothing takes roots in the mind when there is no balance between receiving and doing as can be deduced in this quote for example: “first of all we did not have money. We actually had to think of a way to get money without money. This pushed us to think of a lot of different ways. This was the main part actually. We thought about the people who can give us this money. We also thought of how to gives something different to the charity. This enabled us to innovate”. There is no doubt as can be deduced from this quote that, the teaching content and methods SE instructors employ, can help students to categorise and identify as social innovative thinking social entrepreneurs. Besides enhancing social innovative thinking, collective dimensions continue to be a key feature of European social enterprises which reduce the probability of opportunistic behaviours by single individuals (Galera & Borzaga, 2009). Students groups spent more time sharing and implementing their business ideas. This study proposes that, Instead of the traditional way of presenting these business models and plans as a group to classmates who often do not form part of the resource building process, groups should be challenged with the help of instructors to build external networks and present these plans to resource providers. After successfully executing their business ideas, groups can then present to the rest of the class to share and learn from their experiences.
Divergent and Convergent Tools/Business Model Canvas
Most SE instructors use thinking tools to get students to think outside the box. The findings of this study show that, amongst these tools, the business model canvas/divergent and convergent tools are outstanding. Turning a business idea into a full venture can be very complex (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). The business model canvas layout allows collective discussions to set out the activities, key elements and how they interrelate towards achieving a business idea (Paul, 2013). Divergent and convergent thinking is a way of building a few ideas that an individual has to a few ideas that the group has agree on (Whiteboard, 2015).
SE instructors can encourage students groups to draw on these tools when generating their social business ideas. Some instructors do encourage the old traditional business planning method. According to Osterwalder (2012), no business plan survives the first contact with customers. Also, according to Paul (2013), while the business model canvas evolves as the business owner experience the world around them, business plans are static documents. The findings from this study show that, the business model canvas combined with the divergent and convergent thinking tools helped students to think outside the box. The business model canvas allows the setting up on one posture the different activities required. To encourage the transfer of individual’s capabilities into the social venture (Brush et al., 2001), the divergent and convergent thinking tool can be useful by enhancing the thinking of each individual as a person as well as collective thinking. SE Instructors can encourage students groups to advance their social business ideas by thinking through as a team and putting on one posture each of the 9 building blocks of the business canvas model. Groups can make more informed decisions based on their social business model prediction power (Trimi & Berbegal-Mirabent, 2012). Key video footages can help students to understand divergent and convergent thinking tools/business model canvas (Paul, 2013, Osterwalder, 2012; Whiteboard, 2015).
Core Values of Integrity
Given the challenging nature of social activities, individual integrity is essential for success. Roper & Cheney (2005) noted that, an individual exceptional characteristic though manifested sometimes by a group is essential for the success of social enterprises. According to Rokeach (1973), while trying to reinforce our self-image, the moral nature of value pushes us to act in the interests of society. Values could be individualistic or group oriented (England, 1975). As compared to mainstream entrepreneurship education, it is very important to emphasize, in the context of SE education, the need to solve social problems as a group since the majority of SE initiatives are design to serve a collective interest.
While some people are able to maintain their self-integrity when faced with challenges, others can easily deviate or be influenced (Hemingway, 2005). Findings show that the integrity of an individual and the values that this individual holds is what has pushed the majority of the students to be interested in carrying out social activities responsibly. However, some students were encouraged through the group teaching method some SE instructors employed. Thus, student groups can be an important source of influence and encouragement towards enhancing responsible SE. Given the fact that SE already relates to being responsible, some instructors believe teaching SE automatically means addressing responsible entrepreneurship. This confirms Chell et al’s (2016) argument that being a social entrepreneur does not mean you are automatically a moral being who enacts goodness. Though a few SE instructors address values, more still needs to done in the context of SE education (Hemingway, 2005).
Majority of social organizations depends on funding, tax exemptions or low tax rates. Outcome measurement is a way to get social enterprises to prove with figures the level of social impact created on each pound invested. Outcome measurement can enhance a change in behavior, performance and resource allocation (Lawlor et al., 2008). Findings show that, the extent to which outcome measurement can enhance responsible SE depends on the measurement technique employed. The advanced quantitative measurement technique (SROI) has encouraged the desire of majority of the students’ to potentially carry out social activities responsibly. SROI is a form of cost-benefit analysis that considers triple-bottom-line benefits and investments (economic, social, and environmental) and can be forecasted or evaluative. SROI measures both economic and fiscal benefits. This measurement technique measures: What the social organisation spends (investment), what it does (activities), how much the social organisation does (outputs), what changes the social organisation brings(outcome) and the worth of these changes (value) (Ógáin et al., 2012).
SE instructors can encourage responsible SE by using the SROI measurement technique. This technique enables the quantification of the social value created. Mainstream entrepreneurs show only the economic wealth (Profit) created on their financial statements and CSR is not part of the financial statement. With the SROI measuring technique, social entrepreneurs who deploy money made through doing business for social change have to show both the social value and economic wealth created. Findings show that, comparing in groups the social impact created by different social and non-social enterprises, has encouraged responsible SE. People can actually see in a more realistic way and judge the level of social impact created. This can push students who are looking forward to be social entrepreneurs to be more transparent, responsible and to work harder towards achieving their social change target. Key reading that instructors can help students to understand the SROI (Fujiwara, 2013; Lawlor et al., 2008). For real case studies of social enterprises that used the SROI measurement technique (Craftcafe, 2011).
Ethical Social Enterprise Branding/Dark Side of CSR
Ethical issues are very pertinent for the success of social enterprises and for the social status of social organisations in general. CSR is an old concept of creating social value and has not been realistic for example in developing nations as compared to developed nations. As compared to SE, CSR is a side activity of a mainstream entrepreneur whose main goal is creating economic wealth. Social entrepreneurs develop social enterprises to create social value as their main objective and economic wealth creation is secondary (Tracey & Phillips, 2007). While social entrepreneurs are expected to create social value whether profit is made or not, mainstream entrepreneurs respect their CSR only when profit is made. Often, reports on CSR are not transparent and it is viewed as a strategy to attract more customers (Hibbert, et al., 2002). To clearly differentiate the social value created by social enterprises and the CSR of mainstream businesses, social organisation needs to be transparent in the marketing of their social organisations and the measurement and reports of their activities. Due to deceptive social impact claims, responsible social entrepreneurs have to ensure their organization is genuine and trustworthy in representation and delivery (Hibbert, et al., 2002).
Ethics and values in the context of SE education should be addressed hand in hand. As mentioned above, some instructors still believe teaching SE automatically means addressing ethics as could be deduced in the quote: “I do not really understand because if you are teaching SE, the ethics is within the concept itself”. This quote confirms Chell et al (2016) argument that, in the context of SE education there is the lack of problematization regarding the relationship between ethics and SE. According to Cornelius et al. (2008), it does not necessarily means because something is socially oriented, then the motivation is ethically responsible. Findings from this study show that, majority of business schools offering SE education spend time criticizing the dark side of CSR. As a proposal, while criticizing CSR as a way to enhance responsible SE, there is also the urgent need to address ethics in the context of SE education. Students should be made to understand that, being a social entrepreneur or working for a social organization does not automatically makes them responsible or ethical. Students should be encouraged to take this criticism and create something new that can produce realistic social value globally (Austin et al., 2006; Dacin et al., 2010).
Students need to be aware that they are different types of social issues in different social contexts because every context has different social issues. In some contexts, it may be more about corruption, for some it may be racism and for others underdevelopment. So examining the key issues in that context and how SE education can really help. For example in Africa, it will be more of unemployment and corruption. SE education can address this by encouraging students to examine new social ideas towards addressing these issues in this context or modifying and implementing approaches or tools that successfully work in different context. Findings show that, students come from different management background for example marketing, finance in business schools offering SE as a module. It is important to mix and make them work as a group on different social issues and question how it can be solve. Groups can enable the learning of different experiences and how problems are solve in different context.
Book Review on the Biography of Social Entrepreneurs
Mission drift is common within social enterprises that mix both economic and social objectives (Tracey & Phillips, 2007). To remain ethical and maintain our core values can be challenging. Reviewing books that details how famous social entrepreneurs overcome these challenges and remain true can be an effective tool for social entrepreneurs when faced with challenges.
SE instructors can expose students to famous social entrepreneurs that have a proven record of being capable of maintaining their core values and remaining true. Outlining the qualities of what makes them unique may help students to see them as mentors and do everything possible to be identified as being amongst the group of social entrepreneurs that uphold these qualities (Hogg et al., 1995). This group of social entrepreneurs have characteristics and features that distinguish them which in this case are features related to maintaining the original intention of creating social value and re-investing profit for more social change activities. A good example is Mohammed Yunus. While familiarising students with features exhibited by social entrepreneurs like Mohamed Yunus, students should note that, they can in their own unique way exhibit similar features. These features are to be emulated and not to be followed with exactness (Hogg et al., 1995).
Guest Speaking, Interviewing, Personal Connection, Learning by Doing
Guest speaking is a commonly used teaching method in SE education. The findings show that some instructors see guest speaking as important and invite many guest speakers throughout the course as a way of exposing students to varieties of social enterprises. Some, invite and see guest speaking as a form of experiential learning. Often in SE seminars, guest speakers are expected to talk to students about the activities of their social enterprises, what makes their enterprise “social” and some of the challenges they face as social enterprises as could be deduced in this quote for example: “Guest speakers who came in and say this is why we are a social enterprises and this is what we do, why we feel that we tick those boxes that add social value”.
As a proposal, SE instructors should see guest speaking as a way of exposing students to different varieties of social enterprise. Findings from this study show that, in business schools that invite varieties of guest speakers, majority of the students were encouraged to engage responsibly in SE after listening to some guest speakers. This gives students the opportunity to identify and interview their own mentors, learn from their experiences and improve their knowledge. Speakers can be an important source of knowledge transfer.
Personal connection to a social business idea can be a source of inspiration. Findings from this study show that, students engage more both innovatively and responsibly when they are personally connected to a social business idea. Instructors can encourage students to be involved in social change activities they are connected to. This can be a source of motivation when faced with challenges.
Instructors can also help expose students to opportunities that students can learn by doing. Education has more meaning if teaching methods that allow students to simultaneously learn and employ knowledge acquire from the classroom in a working environment are employed. Findings from this study show that, students thinking were enhanced in an innovative way to a greater extent in business schools that employ the learning by doing teaching methods.
This study contributes in advancing the utilisation of the social identity theory in the SE education context. The study also contributes to the growing literature emphasizing the need to employ the experiential learning teaching methods to teach SE (Brock & Steiner, 2009; Steyaert & Dey, 2014). However, there is a diverse range of teaching methods that are considered to be experiential. Findings from this study suggest that the experiential teaching method that allows students to generate, implement and present in groups (group social business planning, implementation and presentation) while at school can to a greater extent provide students with the skills needed and also help them identify and categorise as potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs.
The proposed model by this study is believed to enhance SE education in the following way: first, it provides precise teaching content and methods that educators can employ and help students categorise and identify as potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs. Secondly, it enables potential social entrepreneurs to value the importance of creating social value as a group. The model also provides aspiring social entrepreneurs with tools needed to think innovatively and be responsible in carrying out social change activities. The model may help governments, academic institutions and aid agencies that seek to establish SE education programs with the aim of graduating potential social entrepreneurs that are capable of creating realistic social value in a social innovative and responsible way.
While this study identified and explained how core values of integrity can enhance responsible SE, the study did not examine which values are key to social entrepreneurs and techniques that can be employ in a working environment to maintain these values in the long run. Based on this, the further research question below was generated.
The “social” status of SE is pending. Sometimes it is hard for social entrepreneurs who deploy money made through doing business for social change to maintain the original intention of creating social value and re-investing profit for more social change activities: further research should examine:
1. The key values of social entrepreneurs.
2. What techniques can be employed in a working environment to maintain these values in the long run?
The research question is which teaching content and methods enhances the formation of potential social innovative thinking, responsible, social entrepreneurs? To answer this question, this study examines the syllabi of 5 UK business schools offering SE as a course or a module. The study also interviewed 8 SE instructors and 30 students who successfully passed through the SE course/module across these five business schools. Based on the analysed data and the social identity theory, this study proposed a model. The social identity theory encourages group work. In the context of Europe, creating social value through the cooperatives and association legal framework is encouraged. This approach of tackling social problems as a team is increasingly being recognised. Thus, drawing on the social identity theory and encouraging students to team up towards solving social issues is important as this kills the egoism of opportunistic individuals (Galera & Borzaga, 2009). By identifying the content and methods that have or can enhance social innovative thinking and responsible SE, this study has added to the body of literature in SE education. The study hopes these findings will help inform SE researchers, instructors and practitioners.
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