Corporate Social Entrepreneurship: Concepts and a Case Study


How businesses respond to the needs of society has changed considerably over the past two centuries. Starting from a position of outright exploitation, followed by resistance to regulation and, later, reluctant compliance, firms are increasingly initiating actions to help underserved segments of society. Some organizations not only address the needs of diverse stakeholders, involving their employees in the effort, and forming partnerships with not-for-profits, but also seek to deploy their core competence to serve society better. Distinctions among Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Involvement, and Corporate Social Entrepreneurship are delineated. The paper expands upon these principles, while illustrating their implementation by an American multinational corporation (MNC) in its response to the devastation wrought by the tsunami of 2004. The MNC decided to commit considerable resources to serving existing, and even “creating” new, stakeholders. The firm’s continuing social involvement and entrepreneurship, and its success in creating a transferable model for development, exemplify innovative strategies deployed in the service of society.

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