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Societal ethics and social entrepreneurship: a cross-cultural comparison

Faculty Advisor




social entrepreneurship, institutional framework, behavioral ethics, public-sector ethics, unselfishness

Abstract (summary)

Using multilevel modeling and data from 26 countries that include 93,439 individual-level responses on social entrepreneurship for the year 2015, we seek to understand how societal-level ethical orientations impact the likelihood of individuals engaging in social entrepreneurship. We develop a multidimensional representation of societal ethics, in that we draw close parallels between the three institutional pillars—normative, cognitive, and regulatory—with three forms of ethics and use this understanding to predict their effects on the demand for and supply of social entrepreneurs. We find that low behavioral ethics (normative ethics) at the societal level provides opportunities for individuals to become social entrepreneurs. Furthermore, while unselfishness (cognitive ethics) motivates individuals to become social entrepreneurs, high public-sector ethics (regulatory ethics) provides the institutional support for such entrepreneurs to thrive. We contribute to cross-cultural comparative entrepreneurship by providing ethical antecedents of social entrepreneurship through a deeper understanding of the influence of ethics as national-level institutions.

Publication Information

Pathak, S., & Muralidharan, E. (2019). Societal ethics and social entrepreneurship: a cross-cultural comparison. Cross-Cultural Research. First Published Online-Aug 2019:


Item Type

Article Post-Print




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