Engagement to contribute to social change or to solving social problems links to certain intentions of individuals, frequently these are referred to as altruistic motives or motivations. These intentions lead individuals to commit themselves to collective goals and voluntary work that only brings indirect or even none benefits. Therefore, intentions for social entrepreneurship differ from intentions for ‘classical’ entrepreneurship, which is stimulated by self-interest.

When promoting social entrepreneurship higher education institutions might face the problem that staff, and students might be reluctant to engage in these areas due to a lack of understanding. Frequently, staff and students from less business-oriented programmes and disciplines perceive entrepreneurship negatively as not matching their intentions.

The goal

When promoting social entrepreneurship higher education institutions should create a shared understanding of what social entrepreneurship is, and this understanding should relate to staff and students’ intentions to stimulate their engagement. Further, higher education institutions should also create language regulations that represent the character of social entrepreneurship.

Examples of interventions at institutional level

  • Information campaigns
  • Good practice examples
  • Surveying staff and student’s intentions for engagement
Back to Fiche

Other relevant resources
  • n/a
Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
  • Not covered in HEInnovate
Further reading
  • Ahuja, Vivek; Akhtar, Asif; Wali, O. P. (2019): Development of a comprehensive model of social entrepreneurial intention formation using a quality tool. In J Glob Entrepr Res 9 (1). DOI: 10.1186/s40497-019-0164-4.
  • Bazan, Carlos; Gaultois, Hannah; Shaikh, Arifusalam; Gillespie, Katie; Frederick, Sean; Amjad, Ali et al. (2020): A systematic literature review of the influence of the university’s environment and support system on the precursors of social entrepreneurial intention of students. In J Innov Entrep 9 (1). DOI: 10.1186/s13731-020-0116-9.
  • Kruse, Philipp (2020): Can there only be one? – an empirical comparison of four models on social entrepreneurial intention formation. In Int Entrep Manag J 16 (2), pp. 641–665. DOI: 10.1007/s11365-019-00608-2