The Social Entrepreneur: Personality Traits and Motivation Factors in Social Entrepreneurship

The Social Entrepreneur: Personality Traits and Motivation Factors in Social Entrepreneurship

Beliz Ülgen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5687-9.ch003
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Although social entrepreneurs have some common characteristics with business or commercial entrepreneurs, undoubtedly they differ in many ways. In this chapter, social entrepreneurs are highlighted with their core personality traits and motivation factors that are different from the other entrepreneurs. In the beginning, the definitions of social entrepreneurs put forward by different authorities were presented. Immediately after these definitions, the three main typologies—social bricoleurs, social constructionists, social engineers—and their characteristics were examined. By its nature and purpose, a social enterprise needs some specific entrepreneurial traits and driving factors. In the last section of this chapter, these personality traits and motivation factors were discussed.
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Social entrepreneurs are different because their main aim is to establish a business which completely concentrates on social concerns, produce sustainable and effective benefits to society. Some of them try to help physically or mentally ill or disabled people, the others interest with environment protection, hunger and poverty, some of them provide education facilities to dropouts, produce medical and assistive devices for needs to ease their life. They place great importance to social values as well as financial ones and invest earnings to their own social mission instead of sharing with stakeholders (Boschee, 2006).

Some may have been influenced by a role model or guide behaviors or considerations in which they have close relationships in childhood, and may have decided to be social entrepreneurs by directing this role model.

Before becoming social entrepreneur, some of them may be working in different professions as designers, engineers, teachers, doctors or business people. They shift to social entrepreneurship because of family crises or problems in their immediate environment. On the other hand, some of them may have been affected by the behaviors or thoughts of a role model, with whom they had a close relationship during childhood. With the guidance of this role model, they may have decided to become a social entrepreneur. Alice Teppee Marlin, is one of these social entrepreneurs. At her young ages, her father and she regularly visited the Lower East Side of New York City where a large number of poor people live in difficult conditions. Whereby these visits, she had the opportunity to meet these people and their needs closely. Today she is founder of Social Accountability International (Bornstein & Davis, 2010).

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