Panel Paper: The Role of Government in Fostering Social Entrepreneurship: An Inductive Study

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Tyler - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sanjay K. Pandey, George Washington University and Sheela Pandey, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

Our goal in this paper is to explore and provide a fuller understanding of government role in supporting or hindering social entrepreneurship. The last decade has seen great interest in social entrepreneurship worldwide and has resulted in a proliferation of research on social entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, this has not significantly advanced our knowledge of government’s role in supporting and/or hindering social entrepreneurship. This is because a large part of extant literature is dominated by the idea of institutional voids created by market and government failures. However, we believe that government’s role is more multi-faceted and there is a need for more careful theoretical and empirical scrutiny. Government influence on social entrepreneurship activities can come in a variety of ways, including creating new legal entities that are able to pursue profit as well as social purpose, tax laws, policies that provide financial support and market access etc.

There is thus a need to take a grounded theory approach to improve understanding of the role of governments. Drawing upon extant literature on social entrepreneurship and government, we propose an initial framework for ways in which different levels of government can foster or hinder social entrepreneurship. We then analyze mass media coverage from top ten countries known for being hospitable to social entrepreneurs as identified by Thomson Reuters Foundation. These countries are -- United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, Israel, Chile, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malayasia, and France. To analyze data from the ten countries we rely on multiple case analysis methodology. We determine whether our initial framework based on extant theory holds or whether it needs modifications or extensions. We expect that our analysis will generate new theoretical insights about the role government can play, and offer lessons that may not be readily apparent in single country studies.