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The role of business schools in educating social entrepreneurs: An exploratory study of UK business schools

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posted on 2022-10-13, 16:23 authored by Doreen Nyaa Amundam


Notwithstanding the growing interest in social entrepreneurship (S E) education, the S E field is gradually losing its “social” status.Accordingly, there is a need to emphasise the “social” aspect  of  S  E  education  in  order  to  clearly  distinguish  S  E  from  the  corporate  social responsibility  (CSR)  practices  implemented  by  mainstrea m  entrepreneurs.  It  f ollows  that  in order  to  clearly  differentiate  between  social  value  and  CSR,  S  E  education  should  help develop  social  entrepreneurs  that  are  both  responsible  (i.e.  social  entrepreneurs  who remain true  to the original idea of creating social value and reinvesting profit for  more social change  activities)  and  socially  innovative  (i.e.  come  up  with  new  ideas  or  ways  to  resolve social problems. S E instructors can help facilitate this developmental process provided  that the  right  teaching  content  and   methods  are  employed.The  general  lack  of  empirical research  in  S  E  education  has  limited  our  understanding  of  the  role  S  E  education  can  play. We do not understand clearly which teaching content and  methods are employed  or can be employed  to  encourage  the  c reation  of    potential  social  innovative  thinking,  responsible, social entrepreneurs.Thisstudy has two  main objectives.The first objective is to assess the current c ontent of  the S  E  curriculum  in  UK  business  schools  in  order  to  i dentify  best  teaching  content  that  can enhance  social  innovative  thinking  and  the  development  of  potential  responsible  social entrepreneurs.The second  objective is to analyze the teaching  methods currently  used by S E  educators  in  UK  business  schools  in  order  to  identify  the  best  teaching  methods  that enhance  social  innovative  thinking  and  the  development  of  potential  responsible  social entrepreneurs.  These  two  objectives  were  met  by    examining  the  syllabi  of  5  UK  business schools offering S E as a course or a  module at masters, undergraduate or foundati on levels (WestminsterUniversity Business School, Oxford B rookes University Business School (Ruskin College),  Goldsmith  University  of  London,  Northa mpton  University  Business  School  and Lancaster   University   Management   School).The   study   interviewed   8   S   E   instructors responsiblefor  designing  and  delivering  these  S  E  courses/modules  and  30  students  who successfully  passed  through  the  S  E  courses/modules  across  these  five  business  schools.Drawing  on  data  analysed  using  within  and  across  case  analysis  methods  and  the  social identity  theory,  this  study  presents  a  model  that  instructors  can  draw  on  and  help  students 

VIcategorise    and    identify    as    potential    social   innovative    thinking,    responsible,    social entrepreneurs.According  to  the  findings  the  key  teaching  content  that  has  enhanced  social  innovative thinking  includes:    historical  and  contempora ry  issues  of  S  E,  the  resource  base/  bricolage and effectuation  theories and the business canvas model/divergent and convergent  thinki ng tools.  In  addition,  the   key  teaching  methods  include:  group  social  business  planning, implementation  and  presentation,  interviewing/visiting  social  entrepreneurs/enterprises. The  findings  further   reveal  tha t,  the  key   teaching  content   that  has  or  can  enhance responsible  S  E  includes:  core  values  of  integrity,  measuring  outcomes,  ethical  social enterprise  branding/  the  dark  side  of  CSR  and  book  review  of  the  biography  of  social entrepreneurs.   Moreover,   the   key   teaching   methods   include:   Group   social   business planning,  implementation  and  presentation,  group  compa rative  analyses  of  real  cases  and guest speaking.With respect  to its contribution, this study proposes a model that is believed to enhance S E  education  in  the  following  ways:  firstly,  it  offers  precise  teaching  content  and  methods  that educators   can   employ   and   help   students   categorise   and   identify   as   potential   social innovative  thinking,  responsible,  social  entrepreneurs.  Secondly,  it  enables  potential  social entrepreneurs to value the importance of creating social value as a group. As for limitations, this study was conducted in the UK with a focus on 5 business schools that offer  S  E  as  a  module/course  in  England.  The  sampling  strategy  employed  to  select  these business schools  was  based  on  whether  each  business  school  was  amongst  the  top  50  UK university/business schools  ranking  according  to  eduniversal  ranking  in  2014  and  offers  S  E as a module/course. Though with a very selective sampling strategy, the question is whether all key findings can be generalise in different context. While  this  study  identifiedand  ex plained  how  core  values  of  integ rity  can  enhance responsible  S  E,  the  study  did  not  examine  techni ques  that  can  be  employ  in  a  worki ng environment  to  maintain  these  values  in  the  long  run.  Further  research  should  examine techniques  that  can  be  employed  in  a  working  environment  to  maintain  these  values in  the long run.



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