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Issue Season

Fall/Winter

Document Type

Research Article

Abstract

We implement an inductive, case study approach to explore the motivations and methods of five successful social entrepreneurs. Our findings show that founders noticed, felt, and responded to someone else’s pain, demonstrating compassion as the genesis of the business venture. Successful social innovation, however, was the result of the creation of an organization structured to include diverse stakeholder input and participation in the decision-making process. Thus, compassion motivates entrepreneurs to pursue broad gains as opposed to singular interests and enhances a willingness to incorporate others’ ideas through an open-strategy process. Our study suggests that interaction with stakeholders can impact the structure of the firm, the business model it employs, and intended and unintended business consequences.

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