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Changing Landscape of Social Entrepreneurship in Lithuania: Comparing Value-Driven Normative Perception and Existing Practices

Thu, July 14, 1:30 to 3:00pm, TBA


Academic relevance & research questions
Academic literature provides many co-existing definitions of social entrepreneurship, however, despite all these efforts the concept still lacks clarity and highly depends on a context and legislative system of particular country. The gap between normative dimension of social business (it‘s social mission, profit redistribution, co-existence of social and economic aims, innovativeness, risk taking, etc. (see e.g. Hartigan 2006; Kerlin, 2013; Doherty et al, 2014; Sepulveda, 2015; Stevens et al, 2015)) and really existing practices in different countries gives us the reason for analysis of the emerging hybrid forms of socially oriented businesses. These assumptions have been tested using data from case study of Lithuania. Lithuania, as one of the post-soviet countries, has a different context from Western countries when speaking about social entrepreneurship (Erpf, Bryer, & Butkevičienė, 2019; Erpf, Butkevičienė & Pučėtaitė, 2020; Urmanavičienė et al, 2021). This leads us to the main research questions of this paper:
• What are entrepreneurial values? Does value-driven normative perception (ideal type) differs from existing practices (real type)? And if yes, how?
• Is there the difference in perceptions of social entrepreneurship among stakeholder groups (social entrepreneurs, social enterprise employees, policy makers)? And especially, how do young people from vulnerable groups perceive opportunities for social entrepreneurship in their local settings?
Method & results
The data were generated using two main methods:
(1) from semi-structured interviews (N=16) with different stakeholders of social enterprises. A non-probability sampling technique was selected due to the difficulties in locating the potential interviewees. The sample included policy makers (4 interviews), heads of WISEs (4 interviews), employees of WISEs, in particular disabled people working in WISE (4 interviews) and experts representing academia (4 interviews). The questions of the semi-structured interviews were formulated from a normative perspective as well as asking interviewees to identify existing practices.
(2) citizen science data collected by young people from rural settlements while implementing the H2020 project YouCount.
The results show that there is a clear gap between normative understanding and existing practices. Existing entrepreneurial values clearly express normative aspect (imaginary ideal type of social entrepreneurship); however practical experience lead us to hybrid forms of social enterprise characteristics and a set of really existing features not always correspond to ideal type. The different stakeholders (academia, employees , employers, policy makers) show similar understanding of the normative aspects; however, have experienced quite divergent practices regarding social enterprises. These findings are supplemented by citizen science data on how youth perceive opportunities for social entrepreneurship and envision its future.