Social entrepreneurs, by deploying simple but creative solutions to seemingly complex problems, are catalysts of transformational change. The innovations inherent in their initiatives have wide-ranging and beneficial impacts on society. These have particular application in the South African context, which is characterised by unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and lack of access to sufficient levels of healthcare and education. The innovations thus engendered are not only scalable and easy replicated, they also have relevance in the enhancing of mainstream commercial business models. Given that social entrepreneurs' activities commonly result in public utility, it is germane to understand the underlying motivations that inform their decision to engage with the field.
The social entrepreneur approaches problems differently, he reframes what others see as challenges into opportunities to serve the unmet needs of the vulnerable in society. Thus it is useful to theorise about what motivates him to act. An exploratory, qualitative study was undertaken to gain insight into the inner workings of the psychological motivations driving these individuals to engage with social entrepreneurship. Semi-structured depth interviews were conducted with both social and commercial entrepreneurs, as well as with an expert in entrepreneurship. Through, context analysis utilising computer-aided software Atlas.ti
The findings revealed a unique blend of motivations that inform individuals engagement with social entrepreneurship. Prosocial motivations, altruistic intentions and compassion, were found to be insufficient to induce individuals to engage with social entrepreneurship. The changemaker orientation as well as the desire to innovate and alignment to purpose were presented as core to the motivations of social entrepreneurs. Points of difference were established with commercial entrepreneurs. The study makes a useful contribution to the theory with regards to motivations underlying social entrepreneurial action. An understanding of these motivators not only informs the public sector, policymakers and practitioners, but also aids business s efforts to strengthen the field.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.