Entrepreneurial axiology: hybrid values in creative social enterprise




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Peer reviewed



Objectives Engaging in the lived experiences of creative social entrepreneurs, we ask what is valuable about the creative process, and how does this process advance research about hybrid values in entrepreneurship? We explore the axiology of creativity, social-value, and enterprise in the emergent area of creative social enterprise in Scotland. Prior Work Both the creative industries and social enterprise are important growth sectors in Scotland (Social Value Lab & Glasgow Social Enterprise Network 2015; The Scottish Government 2015). While traditionally separate sectors, together they create an entrepreneurial phenomenon: creative social enterprise. This paper draws from research conducted on values of creativity in business studies (Shane & Nicolaou 2015; Ward 2004; Zampetakis & Moustakis 2006). We also examine research that addresses the use of “hybridity” as a dominant theme in social enterprise research (Battilana & Lee 2014; Doherty et al. 2014). Creative social enterprise exposes a redundant supporting rhetoric spanning the logic of the socio-economic development properties of both the creative industries and social enterprise sectors. Additionally, in praxis, there is both an upsurge of social entrepreneurs using the value of creative arts engagement to achieve their missions, and an increase in creative entrepreneurs developing social agendas to achieve their respective missions. This paper focuses on exploring the hybrid values surrounding creative entrepreneurs who have developed creative social enterprises. We are concerned a possible paradoxical juxtaposition, which imposes a dominant assumption of monetary value on creative social enterprises, and reduces the understanding of creative and social values. Approach Using an interpretivist approach with roots in phenomenological inquiry and heuristic analysis, we bring a group of creative social entrepreneurs together in an exploratory setting. This space creates conversations focused on how the creative process constructs adaptive business. Furthermore, in interrogating how hybrid ideals come to create several juxtapositions, we explore the importance of failure and growth for a creative social entrepreneur; the parallels between internal purpose vs external focus; and the value of alternative space as collaboration between creativity entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Findings While full data-analysis is still ongoing, early results show that creative social entrepreneurs are juggling a plurality of traditional business expectations, in conflict with a desire to provide sustainable solutions to their communities and embrace an adaptive nature of creativity. Initially, this conflict is a result of the dominant “ideal hybrid organization”. This dominance exposes a space where entrepreneurial theories of creative social enterprise can expand to include issues of creative and social value. Further, it is difficult to build a creative social enterprise theory without understanding the value of creative entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, contemporaneously. Implications The conclusion of this paper marks a beginning; the paper offers data to support agencies able to use information from participants in developing more robust programs of support. It provides broader entrepreneurial insights into the value of merging the creative industries and social enterprise sectors, and develops a discussion illustrating entrepreneurial lessons within creative social enterprise. We have found that these hybrid organizations exist in some abundance throughout Scotland, which allows us access to a place of special relevance for socio-economic development policy. Ultimately, this paper offers insights into the plurality of ownership and sustainability of hybridity spaces within creative social enterprises as it emerges, which in turn leads to more opportunities for innovation and growth. Value The immediate value is offering the participants access to the research through internal and external engagements. This allows them to engage within a reflexive space, where further feedback can be generated. We propose that these types of “living spaces” will prove to be rich opportunities for policymakers and support agencies to engage with on the entrepreneurial process.



Social Enterprise, Creative Industries, Entrepreneurship, Hybridity, Value, Axiology


Wells, J.R. (2016) Entrepreneurial axiology: hybrid values in creative social enterprise. 39th Annual Conference of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Paris, France, October 2016.


Research Institute