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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2015
Thesis number: 14243
Social entrepreneurship in China: models, dynamics, challenges and opportunities
Author: Kang, Mengqi
Title: Social entrepreneurship in China: models, dynamics, challenges and opportunities
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: tietotalous; knowledge economy; yrittäjyys; entrepreneurship; sosiaalinen yrittäjyys; social entrepreneurship; mallit; models; innovaatiot; innovations; non profit; non-profit organizations; Kiina; China
Pages: 94
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14243.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2268722)
Key terms: social entrepreneurship, social value, entrepreneurship, non-profits, social innovation
Social entrepreneurship (SE) has been one of the most rapidly developing concepts among the academic world and also in society. Its significance could be partly explained by the fact that traditional non-profits and philanthropy have not been successful in solving some of the world's major social problems. However, there seems to be a void in China's position in the topic while in fact China seems to be a land full of opportunities for SE undertakings: while experiencing rapid economic development, the country could find itself trapped in a snowball of social issues. This thesis attempts to find out what has the current research found out about SE and its definition and how it has been developing in China. Another aim of this thesis is to locate an analytical framework to examine social enterprises.

The thesis adopts primarily a qualitative analysis approach. Specifically, large parts were constructed through literature review on the two topics that the research questions are concerned with. The empirical part is facilitated through a case study. A single case design is chosen, because in this way the focus into an organization can be deeper. Field visits to the company and its service centres were conducted, together with interviews with its founder and one board member.

At least half a dozen definitions regarding SE has been developed, although consensus is yet to be found among different definitions, there are three core principles that are shared: the endeavour has to be profit driven, while keeping its core in social value creation, and can occur in many different sectors and take on many different organizational forms. When examining the specific Chinese context, five driving forces are identified, many of which byproduct of the rapid economic development.

On the other hand, SE in China faces a range of difficulties, many of which are unique to the Chinese context. Currently, there is no established legislative framework specifically designed to regulate social enterprises, which is constituted in between traditional social organizations and conventional businesses. The nature of the Chinese government also limits social enterprise's operating scale, especially in politically grey areas, which is often a major area for social enterprise to focus on in other countries. Additionally, social enterprises in China struggle financially with capital accumulation and often find it hard to retain talents.

A revised analytical framework based on two existing multi-dimensional models is constructed. Elements from both are combined to encompass a holistic view that includes both internal and external factors to examine social enterprises. In the center rests the core of social enterprises: its social value proposition.

This thesis serves just as a tip of the giant domain of SE, playing an informative role to acquaint fellow readers with the concept of SE and elaborate on the research gap of where China lands in a global SE map. With the help of previous research, an updated version of the framework is also completed, incorporating both external and internal focuses into discussion and hopefully could suggest certain directions for future research on this areas.
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