Educational Programs in Social Entrepreneurship: International Experience and Russian Peculiarities

Educational Programs in Social Entrepreneurship: International Experience and Russian Peculiarities

Yury Evgenievich Blagov, Yulia Nikolaevna Aray
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5345-9.ch048
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The chapter presents a review of Russian and international experience in implementing educational programs in the area of social entrepreneurship. The authors analyze the specifics of the emergence and development of these programs, which reflect the dualism of the essence of social entrepreneurship. The chapter provides a classification of programs on the global market of business education by their types and forms of implementation. The authors list the peculiarities of education in the sphere of social entrepreneurship in Russia. They examine, in detail, the complementary professional in-service training program called “Project Management for Social Entrepreneurs,” which is administered in the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg State University with the support of the Citi Foundation since 2012. They conclude that it is important to teach business leaders attending MBA/EMBA programs to help them shape social entrepreneurship competencies aimed at creating shared value.
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Social entrepreneurship itself is hardly a new phenomenon; however, it has experienced a dramatic upsurge in recent years all over the world, including the Russian Federation. Both social entrepreneurship and its science conceptualization are being developed along with the practice in this area (Aray, 2013, pp. 111–112). There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, there is a host of social problems at all levels (from local to global) and, on the other — the apparent inability of the society to resolve these problems effectively through traditional mechanisms, such as state support, efforts of multilateral and non-profit organizations, as well as corporate social performance. At the same time, the essence of social entrepreneurship, its capabilities and peculiarities of functioning, still remain a topic for discussion (Mair & Marti, 2006; Light, 2008; Austin, Stephenson, & Wei-Skilllern, 2010; Santos, 2012; Defourny & Nyssens, 2017).

It has become obvious that social entrepreneurship is a “part of a growing and concerted movement seeking to find alternative solutions to some of the world’s most intractable social problems, a movement in which we believe the business school community has a critical part to play” (Lawrence et al., 2012, p.320). Historically, social entrepreneurship was studied as a part of or in close connections with the controversial theory of social enterprise as an enterprise with the hybrid nature (Jäger & Schröer, 2014). Social entrepreneurship exists by balancing between social and economic objectives and “social entrepreneurship education has attracted increased attention over the last decade with a particular focus on the problem of combining business and social values” (Zhu et al., 2016, p. 607). Moreover, all the hybrid-related balances and imbalances are “context sensitive”. Some authors have already conducted comparative studies across several countries and regions (Kerlin, 2006; Fostering Social Entrepreneurship, 2006; Defourny & Nyssens, 2010), but Russian Federation has not been investigated yet. According to Kerlin social entrepreneurship in East-Central Europe is located between market, international aid and civil society. Nevertheless such situation is not relevant to the legal and socioeconomic context of Russian Federation where the role of international aid is stably shrinking and civil society institutions are just emerging.

The situation in the Russian Federation is made more complex by the fact that the term “social entrepreneurship,” defined as “entrepreneurial activity aimed at easing or solving social problems” (Zvereva, 2015, p. 9) has not yet taken its definite place in the legal field, and a corresponding legislative act is still under consideration.

Entrepreneurship is hardly associated in the public mind with creating jobs for mothers with young children, provision of travel services for people with disabilities and delivering products to remote populations at affordable prices. As a result, the public tends to view social entrepreneur as a special type of people who create “social value,” seek to “make the world better.” Indeed, social entrepreneurship requires more focused moral motivation than engaging in traditional business activities. Nevertheless, social entrepreneurship, no matter how difficult its typological description might be, still remains a particular case of doing business (Blagov & Aray, 2010, p. 111–112). Moreover, it is social entrepreneurship in its concentrated form that reflects the tendency to search for innovative ways of solving social and environmental problems as a new paradigm of relations between the society and the business community.

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