The Social Case as a Business Case: Making Sense of Social Entrepreneurship from an Ordonomic Perspective

Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP, volume 40)


This chapter discusses how the theoretical perspective of ordonomics provides a framework for better understanding and advancing the practice of social entrepreneurship. From an ordonomic perspective, the concept of social entrepreneurship offers a semantic innovation (at the ideas level) whose potential for social innovation can be fully reaped only if it is used as a heuristics for social structural change (on the institutions level). Social entrepreneurs recognize relevant social problems, interpret them as an entrepreneurial challenge, and succeed in turning what was a social case into a business case in a broader sense. Using the real-life example of a successful eco-social entrepreneur, the chapter demonstrates that such win-win solutions can be reconstructed as the sophisticated management of social dilemmas. It sketches a strategy matrix for the practice of social entrepreneurship and distinguishes four paradigmatic strategies social entrepreneurs can employ to create win-win scenarios by changing the rules of the game to overcome undesirable social dilemmas. The chapter concludes by discussing social entrepreneurship in the context of new governance processes and highlights key similarities and differences to the concept of corporate citizenship.


Social entrepreneurship Commitments Corporate citizenship Semantics Social structure Business ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sustainability Management, Leuphana University LueneburgLueneburgGermany

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