What is it about?

The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically the extensively used social versus commercial entrepreneurship dualism that depicts these as entirely discrete realms possessing distinct and separate logics.

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Why is it important?

Uncovering entrepreneurs’ rationales the finding is that entrepreneurs do not pursue either purely commercial or social goals. Rather, most voice both commercial and social logics when explaining their entrepreneurial endeavour, displaying that there is not a dichotomy but rather a continuum from purely commercial to purely social entrepreneurship. Neither do entrepreneurs’ logics remain static over time. What begins as a commercial entrepreneurial venture may become more socially oriented over time or vice versa. Logics underpinning entrepreneurship also vary socio-spatially. Those living in deprived populations and rural populations are more socially-orientated, whilst relatively affluent and urban populations are comparatively more commercially-driven.


This paper displays the need to transcend the long-standing commercial versus social entrepreneurship dualism and begins to document how logics of entrepreneurship vary temporally and spatially.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Beyond the commercial versus social entrepreneurship divide, Social Enterprise Journal, August 2011, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/17508611111156592.
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