This study aims to develop an empirically validated taxonomy. Typologies of social entrepreneurship are primarily based on conceptual considerations and case studies. There is a need for quantitative approaches and empirical testing of this emerging organizational form and its characteristics.Design/methodology/approachFirst, an item scale was developed that emerged from frequently mentioned elements in social entrepreneurship literature. Next, social entrepreneurs rated these items. Finally, the authors conducted a cluster analysis to derive a taxonomy with three distinguishable types of social enterprises.FindingsBased on a cluster analysis (N = 70), an empirically validated taxonomy is provided with three social enterprise types: social service providers, social change makers and social philanthropists.Practical implicationsAlthough this research has an exploratory character, it makes a clear contribution by complementing existing typologies, which tend to be conceptual in nature, with a taxonomy that is empirically grounded. This study defogs the blurry understanding and limited knowledge about different social enterprise forms and provides insight into meaningfully similar groups across the sector as a whole.Originality/valueThis article fills a void of empirically grounded taxonomies by analyzing which definitional aspects of social entrepreneurship literature correspond to the perceptions of social entrepreneurs regarding the nature of their organizations.
Social Enterprise Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2019
Keywords: Social entrepreneurship; Social enterprises; Cluster analysis; Explorative research; Organizational taxonomy
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