Document Type

Research Article


Purpose – This research note discusses three essential and practical questions related to social entrepreneurship and social activities in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): What motivates SMEs to undertake social activities? What are the obstacles faced by SMEs when undertaking social activities? What are the types of social activities that SMEs undertake? The article presents preliminary answers and provides research suggestions related to these questions. Design/methodology/approach – The authors search and review articles that study social entrepreneurship and social activities of SMEs and synthesize their findings based on the three main topics of interest. Findings –The authors synthesized findings based on their three motivating topics: motivation, obstacles and types. They extracted three primary motivations of SMEs for social activities: (1) demands and expectations from external stakeholders, (2) nonpecuniary incentives that stem from organizational values and culture and (3) anticipation of improving relevant organizational outcomes. The authors extracted two obstacles for social initiatives: (1) limited resources and knowledge and (2) lack of perceived benefits or incentives. Finally, the authors extracted two types of social activities: (1) activities that address social and ethical issues and (2) activities that address environmental concerns. Originality/value – Pressing concerns in society have pushed numerous entrepreneurs and small business managers to create and manage businesses that aim to alleviate social and environmental problems. Accordingly, researchers have devoted some attention to how SMEs get increasingly involved with social activities and initiatives (i.e. addressing social and environmental challenges through their firms). The authors highlight existing findings and propose future research opportunities based on our three essential and motivating questions.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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