Mining Social Entrepreneurship Strategies Using Topic Modeling

Abstract

Despite the burgeoning research on social entrepreneurship (SE), SE strategies remain poorly understood. Drawing on extant research on the social activism and social change, empowerment and SE models, we explore, classify and validate the strategies used by 2,334 social entrepreneurs affiliated with the world’s largest SE support organization, Ashoka. The results of the topic modeling of the social entrepreneurs’ strategy profiles reveal that they employed a total of 39 change-making strategies that vary across resources (material versus symbolic strategies), specificity (general versus specific strategies), and mode of participation (mass versus elite participation strategies); they also vary across fields of practice and time. Finally, we identify six meta-SE strategies―a reduction from the 39 strategies―and identify four new meta-SE strategies (i.e., system reform, physical capital development, evidence-based practices, and prototyping) that have been overlooked in prior SE research. Our findings extend and deepen the research into SE strategies and offer a comprehensive model of SE strategies that advances theory, practice and policy making.

Publication
PLOS ONE, 11(3):e0151342, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151342