Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 125, Issue 4, pp 709-713

First online:

Toward A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship. On Maximizing Versus Satisficing Value Capture

  • Alejandro AgafonowAffiliated withESSCA School of Management, LUNAM Université Email author 

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In a recent issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, Filipe M. Santos posits that social entrepreneurs maximize not on value capture, but on value creation, only satisficing on value capture to fuel operations, reinvesting in growth, whatever the specific combination of institutional means is deemed appropriate. No doubt the analytical framework of value creation and value capture casts new light on the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship, but we think Santos is asking too much by advocating a shift in focus away from the organization. On the contrary, we maintain that by refocusing the theory on the organizational level and away from the system it is possible to understand that not all organizational solutions available to social entrepreneurs are able to create value and not all value capture strategies can serve a social goal. Indeed, there is only one form of organization that fulfills the criteria of maximizing on value creation, while satisficing on value capture and that is the social enterprise.


Social entrepreneurship Social enterprise Value creation Value capture Value appropriation Public goods Market failures