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Several commentators on social entrepreneurship (Dees, 2001; Martin & Osberg, 2007a; Peredo & McLean, 2006) have noted that understanding social entrepreneurship requires an understanding of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and the “social sector”. Indeed, research in the field tends to be addressed either through the framework of the social sector or from the perspective of entrepreneurial studies. Thus the present researchers will begin by addressing these topics— entrepreneurship and the social sector—separately before examining social entrepreneurship as a holistic concept.

Typologies of Entrepreneurs

In addressing typologies of social entrepreneurs (SE) one must consider the typologies applied to entrepreneurs. Although a relatively new field, the study of entrepreneurship has established itself in the extant literature; entrepreneurial studies have become staples of business schools around the world. Several seminal concepts lay the foundation for discussion of entrepreneurship. Jean Baptiste Say proposed that entrepreneurs “create value” (Dees, 2001; Martin & Osberg, 2007a) and Joseph Schumpeter described entrepreneurs as change agents and innovators engaged in “creative-destruction” that reforms and revolutionizes production (Martin & Osberg, 2007a). In addition, Zahra, Gedajlovic, Neubaum, and Shulman (2009) suggested that Hayek’s work highlighting “the critical role of private, local knowledge” (p. 523) and Kirzner’s concept that entrepreneurial opportunity is the result of the entrepreneurs’ “alertness to opportunities” (p. 525) helped lay the framework for research about entrepreneurship.

While many typologies of entrepreneurs have been developed, Dincer, Yildirim, and Dil (2011) proposed that most typologies identify two or three primary types of entrepreneurs. Even though each study applied slightly different criteria to the categories they describe, a general theme emerges (Woo et al., 1991). Two general types of entrepreneur, “craftsmen” and “opportunists”, can be identified across a wide range of sources. Many such typologies have additional categories, beyond craftsmen and opportunists, and it is clear that few researchers consider that the two common descriptors capture the full range of entrepreneurs. For instance, Dincer et al. (2011) recognized the importance of autonomy to many entrepreneurs and applied third category of “independence-oriented” entrepreneurs. Dincer et al’s descriptions of “types” of entrepreneurs are indicative of this stream of research and includes:

  • • Growth-oriented Entrepreneurs, driven by desire for substantial growth in a relatively short period.
  • • Craftsman-oriented, drawn to a particular type of business, and
  • • Independence-oriented Entrepreneurs, driven by the desire to work for them- selves—and not for others (Dincer et al., 2011, p. 603)

In tourism, examples of these types of entrepreneurs are readily identified. In recent years in tourism, as in other industries, growth oriented entrepreneurs are exemplified by the founders of technology-related start-ups that grow quickly. Craftsmen-oriented entrepreneurs also are common. An example of this type of entrepreneur is the seasoned hotelier who establishes a new hotel management group to take advantage of a specific market opportunity. In addition, tourism has a tendency to attract many independence-oriented entrepreneurs, the majority of whom choose businesses that are compatible with lifestyle choices. While developed to explain entrepreneurship in the “for-profit” realm, these types of entrepreneurs can be recognized in the social sector. Classifications such as these provide a foundation for more specific typologies of social entrepreneurs that will be discussed later in the chapter.

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