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          Michael Conger Jeffery York

          The study of social implications of entrepreneurship, and the influence of socio-cultural factors on entrepreneurial action, is still in its infancy. Although there is a growing interest in “social entrepreneurship” there is a critical need for empirical studies, and for more established entrepreneurship theories and streams of research, to be applied to the context of socially beneficial entrepreneurship (Short et al., 2009). Opportunity recognition and creation has been identified as a defining topic for entrepreneurship research (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000). Key theoretical questions have been raised regarding this topic including how entrepreneurial motivation affects opportunity recognition (Shane et al, 2003) and whether entrepreneurial opportunities are discovered or created (Sarasvathy, 2002; Alvarez & Barney, 2007). Several entrepreneurship scholars have theorized about why and how social entrepreneurship opportunities come to be but empirical study has not yet been brought to bear on these topics. In this study, we seek to bridge the theoretical predictions of the opportunity literature with the context of entrepreneurial action focused on creating social, as well as economic, benefits. We draw on identity theory (Stryker, 1980) to empirically examine how the entrepreneur’s self-concept affects her propensity to discover and/or create opportunities for socially beneficial entrepreneurship.

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