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Research on social entrepreneurship is finally catching up to its rapidly growing potential. In The Search for Social Entrepreneurship, Paul Light explores this surge of interest to establish the state of knowledge on this growing phenomenon and suggest directions for future research. Light begins by outlining the debate on how to define social entrepreneurship, a concept often cited and lauded but not necessarily understood. A very elemental definition would note that it involves individuals, groups, networks, or organizations seeking sustainable change via new ideas on how governments, nonprofits, and businesses can address significant social problems. That leaves plenty of gaps, however, and without adequate agreement on what the term means, we cannot measure it effectively. The unsatisfying results are apple-to-orange comparisons that make replication and further research difficult. The subsequent section examines the four main components of social entrepreneurship: ideas, opportunities, organizations, and the entrepreneurs themselves. The copious information available about each has yet to be mined for lessons on making social entrepreneurship a success. The third section draws on Light's original survey research on 131 high-performing nonprofits, exploring how they differ across the four key components. The fourth and final section offers recommendations for future action and research in this burgeoning field.
By Paul C. Light
"Written for anyone wishing to delve into this new discipline, this book also lists several organizations that are excelling at social entrepreneurship, and discusses their specific visions for the future." -- Book News "Paul C. Light uses his considerable talents to provide a rich discussion of the most important issues in the field of social entrepreneurship... His book is well written, accessible to nonacademic readers, and data-rich." --Diana Wells, Stanford Social Innovation Review "This book should be required reading for aspiring social entrepreneurs, for those interested in identitying and supporting them, and especially for scholars working in the field." --Victoria Johnson, University of Michigan, Administrative Science Quarterly