Exploring Technology´s Role in Social Entrepreneurship

Inga Galvanauskaite

Student thesis: Master thesis


Social entrepreneurship is an emerging phenomenon and an important field that tackles the social problems of today’s world (Nichols, 2008; Mair and Marti, 2006). However, there is a lack of studies conducted on the topic. This thesis fills this gap by aiming to explore technology’s role in social entrepreneurship. Adopting the social constructivist approach and actor network theory, the research reviews existing literature on the social entrepreneurship phenomenon and technology’s use in social enterprises. The findings were discovered through analysing four social enterprises from India, Kenya, Denmark and Australia as case studies. Empirical data was collected through interviewing the founders and end-users of the organisations and analysed using elements of grounded theory. The findings uncover that by utilising technology, social enterprises fill the gap that was created by failures of other sectors and positively impact on economic and social conditions. Using technology as the social enterprises’ business proposition helps to break a number of barriers and allows people to escape the vicious cycle of ongoing social problems. In social entrepreneurship, technologies increase transparency, e people for social cause and enable anyone to make a social impact. The open-source model is found to be important for innovations in social entrepreneurship, as it facilitates the ongoing development of technologies. To overcome institutional or trade barriers, to spread the technology to wider markets, and to attain better knowledge how to develop and improve a specific technology, social enterprises tend to collaborate, especially at the inter-organisational level. For academics in the field the findings contribute to a better understanding of technology’s meaning and function in social entrepreneurship. It provides insights for international development policymakers on features of technology that should be utilised while implementing projects. The results of the research also provide insights for social enterprises, governments and conventional businesses on using technology as a business proposition while creating social impact. And finally, the findings give scope for further research opportunities and pose questions for broader discussions on technology’s role in social entrepreneurship.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages132