Scholars have long debated the definition of social entrepreneurship, but disagreement persists. Despite sustained efforts to craft a universal definition, social entrepreneurship has been characterized as an ʻessentially contested concept’. However, little is known about the root causes of this ongoing contestation. Therefore, we delve into the literature's social entrepreneurship definitions to examine this complex issue. Our systematic literature review leverages insights from the philosophy of science and formal logic—specifically, a theory of definition—to present four rules for definitional evaluation in the social sciences. Accordingly, definitions should convey the essence of a concept (Rule 1: essence), differentiate between their defining and defined terms (Rule 2: expression), be phrased positively (Rule 3: explication), and avoid figurative and obscure language (Rule 4: eloquence). Using these rules to analyse 156 original social entrepreneurship definitions reveals varying interpretations of the concept's essence and sheds light on epistemological issues, such as tautological definitions. Integrating these findings into a practical ʻrulebook’ for definitional evaluation significantly contributes to the social entrepreneurship literature and other highly contested fields by helping to understand different sources of contestation. Guided by our rulebook, we suggest future research avenues and highlight diverse theorizing styles, the engagement of opposing and paradoxical definitional views and the role of academic language in shaping the social entrepreneurship field.

This review argues that the role of technology in business and society debates has predominantly been examined from the limited, narrow perspective of technology as instrumental, and that two additional but relatively neglected perspectives are important: technology as value-laden and technology as relationally agentic. Technology has always been part of the relationship between business and society, for better and worse. However, as technological development is frequently advanced as a solution to many pressing societal problems and grand challenges, it is imperative that technology is understood and analyzed in a more nuanced, critical, and comprehensive way. The two additional perspectives invite a broader research agenda, one that includes questions, such as “Which values and whose interests has technology come to emulate?”; “How do these values and interests play out in stabilizing the status quo?”; and, importantly, “How can it be contested, disrupted, and changed?” Any research that endorses green, sustainable, environmental, or climate mitigating technologies potentially contributes to maintaining the very thing that it seeks to change if questions such as these are not being addressed.

den Hond, F., & Moser, C. (2022). Useful servant or dangerous Master? Technology in Business and Society debates. Business & Society, 1–30.

In  their  recent  essay,  Gond  and  Moser  (2019)  have  proposed  that  micro-CSR  research has the potential to “matter” and transform business practices as it engages closely with how individuals in companies work with and experience corporate social responsibility  (CSR).  But  can  micro-CSR  research  in  its  current  form  realize  this  transformative  potential  and  serve  social  justice?  Adopting  an  intellectual  activist  position, we argue that the transformative potential of micro-CSR is severely limited by its predominant focus on CSR as defined, presented, and promoted by companies themselves, thereby serving to sustain the hegemony of the business case for CSR, promoting  narrow  interests  and  maintaining  managerial  control  over  corporate  responsibilities. We propose that micro-CSR researchers broaden the scope of their research to cultivate the potential of alternative ideas, voices, and activities found in organizational life. In so doing we lay out a research agenda that embraces employee activism,  listens  to  alternative  voices,  and  unfolds  confrontational,  subversive,  and  covert  activities.  In  the  hope  of  inspiring  other  micro-CSR  researchers  to  explore these unconventional paths, we also offer suggestions as to how we can pursue them through empirical research.

Girschik, V., Svystunova, L., Lysova, E. I. (2022). Transforming corporate social responsibilities: Toward an intellectual activist research agenda for micro-CSR research. Human relations, 75(1) 3 –32.

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