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Understanding opportunities in social entrepreneurship: a critical realist abstraction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 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
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Early online date13 Oct 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 13 Oct 2019


  • 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

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