Skip to content

Understanding opportunities in social entrepreneurship: a critical realist abstraction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Xiaoti Hu
  • Susan Marlow
  • Angelika Zimmermann
  • Lee Martin
  • Regina Frank
This paper extends social entrepreneurship (SE) research by drawing upon a critical realist perspective to analyse dynamic structure/agency relations in SE opportunity emergence, illustrated by empirical evidence. Our findings demonstrate an agential aspect (opportunity actualisation following a path-dependent seeding-growing-shaping process) and a structural aspect (institutional, cognitive and embedded structures necessary for SE opportunity emergence) related to SE opportunities. These structures provide three boundary conditions for SE agency: institutional discrimination, an SE belief system and social feasibility. Within this paper, we develop a novel theoretical framework to analyse SE opportunities plus, an applicable tool to advance related empirical research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1032-1056
Number of pages25
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Issue number5
Early online date13 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • ETP_AAM_with_title_page

    Rights statement: Xiaoti Hu, Susan Marlow, Angelika Zimmermann, Lee Martin & Regina Frank. 'Understanding Opportunities in Social Entrepreneurship: A Critical Realist Abstraction'. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1042258719879633. © 2019 The Author(s). All rights reserved.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 489 KB, PDF document

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 15575868