An inquiry into the social wealth of nations: Towards a business model for capturing social value in Danish social enterprises

Mads Jersin

Student thesis: Master thesis


The debate surrounding economic science and its failure to explain real world phenomena has intensified in recent years. From the general public, political activists, and social scientists there has been increasing dissatisfaction with policy makers, and the economists guiding them. To tackle some of the real world challenges, not being addressed by economists or policy makers, comes social entrepreneurs, a new breed of entrepreneurs dedicated to conduct socially responsible business. In this thesis, I begin by exploring the development of value throughout the history of economic thought and discuss the ideas economists have suggested determine what is valuable and furthermore to develop society. I also explore the emerging field of social entrepreneurship and some of the tools available for measuring the value creation they engage in, namely the social value. These ideas will be used as a foundation for my empirical research where I interviewed five employees in two Danish social enterprises. These interviews are focussed on social value creation, the place of social enterprises in a Danish context, and the market failures that have led to the emergence of social enterprises. I then discuss the subjective nature of value in an economic reality that needs objectivity in order for people to understand each other. Furthermore, I suggest that the current neoclassical paradigm has detached the individual from its social context, which leads to less ethical business management that the social enterprises may change by challenging the value perception implicit in the current economic paradigm. After this I will suggest and discuss a value centric business model that can help Danish social enterprises capturing the social value they create. Finally, I conclude by outlining the findings of this thesis and discussing implications for future research.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages106