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Entrepreneurship Research Journal

Ed. by Labaki, Rania / Lyons, Thomas / Zachary, Ramona K. / Mishra, Chandra

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Social Entrepreneurial Ventures: On the Edge of Chaos?

Colleen Robb
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Management, College of Business, California State University Chico, Chico, CA 95929–0031, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ S. Jimmy Gandhi
  • Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2015-12-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/erj-2015-0030


This paper proposes that social entrepreneurial ventures (SEVs) operate as systems of systems (SoS), a collection of complex systems working together to achieve an overall outcome in line with its mission. Previous literature shows that complexity theory is applicable to the unique structure of SEVs and the dual goals of creating economic and social value. We argue that not only are SEVs complex systems, but also operate as a SoS. As such, SEVs could greatly benefit from a general systemic risk management approach that is often applied to SoS. In order to explain our position, we consider an example of an existing SEV and apply these concepts to their operations. We also identify systemic risks in the example and show how the application of a systemic risk management approach can benefit SEVs.

Keywords: social entrepreneurship; systems of systems; complexity theory; risk management; flexibility dynamic


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-12-10

Published in Print: 2016-01-01

Citation Information: Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 111–133, ISSN (Online) 2157-5665, ISSN (Print) 2194-6175, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/erj-2015-0030.

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