The Management Department
Department Seminar Series
KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Thursday, December 7th 2017
Room N517 at 10:00 am (5.00 p.m in Singapore)
Theme: “Entrepreneuring Your Life” or Entrepreneurship for Growth: Means Versus Ends-Based Theories of Social Impact Through Entrepreneurship”
Abstract: "How do organizational actors in local entrepreneurial ecosystems understand their role in tackling “grand challenges” and effecting social change? National governments and supranational institutions increasingly promote entrepreneurship as a solution to socio-economic disparities across individuals, communities and regions. Yet, despite impressive growth in public and scholarly attention to the latter, we know surprisingly little about how, and to what extent, such initiatives succeed or fail in achieving social impact. This paper argues that a primary reason for the inconclusive evidence is that, although scholarship has recognized the multifaceted nature of the input (different forms of entrepreneurship), it assumes a much narrower conceptualization of the outcome (social impact), without adequately examining how organizations construe their role in effecting social change. This paper builds on recent theoretical frameworks for understanding the role of private organizations in positive social change by studying an initiative to promote entrepreneurship in disadvantaged communities in France (colloquially known as banlieues). I take a grounded-theory approach, relying on 46 interviews with entrepreneurs and organizations that support entrepreneurs(hip) in the banlieues, as well as archival and observational data. I theorize that what appears to be a broad policy towards reducing community inequalities through entrepreneurship is translated locally by organizations as two distinct approaches: a means- versus an ends-based approach. Notably, the latter constitute divergent organizational theories of social impact, based on different (1) targets of impact, (2) measures of impact, and (3) identified barriers to achieving impact, across multiple levels (individual, community, societal). Ultimately, means- versus ends-based theories carry distinct implications for evaluating organizations’ social impact. The paper contributes to a cross-level perspective on the relationship between organizations, entrepreneurship, and positive social change."