A Comparative Case Study on the Role of Social Capital in a Community Economic Development Social Entrepreneurship (CEDSE) Open Access

Social entrepreneurships--entrepreneurial ventures that address social problems--are an increasingly critical component of the global strategy for social change. In order to understand how social entrepreneurships facilitate social change, this comparative case study about two community economic development social entrepreneurships (CEDSEs) examines the role of social capital in achieving the organizational mission. The elements of social capital considered here--networks, trust and reciprocity, and resources--have been shown to play a significant role in the operation of traditional entrepreneurial ventures. This dissertation will specifically address how these elements of social capital operate within CEDSEs as mechanisms for social change. As such, this study contributes to both the social capital literature and the emerging literature on social entrepreneurship.The findings of this study support the current social capital literature, and suggest that the three elements of social capital are critical not only in the for-profit arena, but also in socially oriented organizations. Interviews with 26 members of the CEDSE networks as well as with these leaders of the organizations, and a rigorous document review, revealed why so many members of these communities stay involved with a CEDSE. A CEDSE also illustrates how a network of similar-minded people deeply care not only about the sustainability of their local community, but also have a desire to share their learnings with others.Unlike most of the research to date, this study found that sustainability is a critical element to network members. Findings revealed that several factors must exist for a CEDSE organization to operate effectively. These include a network that facilitates change, channels energy, and is nurtured by the CEDSE. Strong feelings of trust must also be present and a myriad of financial, physical and knowledge-based resources that are acquired by the networks must constantly flow to the CEDSE. The question that lingers, however, is how can these CEDSE organizations sustain themselves? The field of nonprofits now includes a sub-class of social entrepreneurships and, with this study, a new type of organization was classified: a CEDSE. A CEDSE is an organization that takes the best of both of those and creates something the communities can believe in as a CEDSE seek answers about how to make an impact.

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