Institutional interventions that aim at stimulating academic staff and students to engage in social entrepreneurship need to address their motivation. In this respect, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are distinguished. Intrinsic motivation relates to those internal beliefs that drive individuals’ engagement, extrinsic motivation mostly relates to incentives that individuals find attractive or would like to gain. Finding the right incentives and linking cultures and values to the internal beliefs of academic staff and students will make their engagement for social entrepreneurship more likely.

Relevance of input

The motivation of academic staff and students to engage in social entrepreneurship activities is crucial for the success of institutional attempts to embed social entrepreneurship. A mismatch between institutional incentives or cultural values and beliefs and expected benefits related to community engagement on the side of staff and students can lead to their disengagement and a disapproval of institutional interventions.

Examples of interventions at institutional level

Some studies suggest list of entrepreneurial values of staff and students (see for example Bicknell 2010), these can inspire a mapping of their beliefs to inform institutional strategies

Incentives include the following:

A systematic review summarises the following incentive categories as having a positive effect on the motivation of academic staff (Neves and Brito 2020):

  • Career related
    • Promotion and career progress
    • Advancing in research
    • More tangible resources accessible
    • More research funding
  • Personal development
    • Increase in learning
    • Joy and challenge
    • Curiosity
  • Pecuniary factors
    • Increase of personal income
  • Moral
    • Moral obligation or duty

In a study on service learning, Mueller et al (2015) found that students’ motivations culminate around:

  • Having impact on social change
  • Match between activity and personal interests and beliefs
  • Balancing social and economic aspects of entrepreneurial actions
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Other relevant resources
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Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
  • Not covered by HEInnovate
Further reading
  • Bicknell, Ann; Francis‐Smythe, Jan; Arthur, Jane (2010): Knowledge transfer: de‐constructing the entrepreneurial academic. In International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research 16 (6), pp. 485–501. DOI: 10.1108/13552551011082461.
  • Mueller, Susan; Brahm, Taiga; Neck, Heidi (2015): Service Learning in Social Entrepreneurship Education: Why Students Want to Become Social Entrepreneurs and How to Address Their Motives. In J. Enterprising Culture 23 (03), pp. 357–380. DOI: 10.1142/S0218495815500120.
  • Neves, Sara; Brito, Carlos (2020): Academic entrepreneurship intentions: a systematic literature review. In JMD 39 (5), pp. 645–704. DOI: 10.1108/JMD-11-2019-0451.