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On the Frontiers: The Implications of Social Entrepreneurship for International Entrepreneurship


  • Shaker A. Zahra,

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    • Shaker A. Zahra is Robert E. Buuck Chair of Entrepreneurship at the Department of Strategic Management & Organization, and Academic Director of the Gary S. Holmes Entrepreneurship Center, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 321 19th Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
  • Lance R. Newey,

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    • Lance R. Newey is Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UQ Business School, Level 4 Colin Clark Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.
  • Yong Li

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    • Yong Li is Associate Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the School of Management and Academic Director of the Entrepreneurship Academy, State University of New York at Buffalo, 326 Jacobs Management Center, Amherst, NY 14260, USA.

  • We dedicate this article to Les Boby, Salouha El Sayed El-Khalifa, and Judy Sena, in remembrance and undying gratitude. We have benefited from discussions on the social role of entrepreneurs at the University of Twente (Netherlands); EGEPE Conference in Brazil; the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship (University of Minnesota); Tsinghua University (China); and RENT Conference in Bodo, Norway. We appreciate the suggestions of the participants of the Glasgow Workshop on High Potential Concepts, Phenomena and Theories in International Entrepreneurship Research, especially those by Patricia McDougall, Marian Jones, and Manuel Serapio, as well as the help of the anonymous reviewers. We are also grateful for the special help of Rod B. McNaughton in guiding our thinking through the issues we cover in this article.

Please send correspondence to: Yong Li, tel.: (716) 645-2522; e-mail:, to Shaker A. Zahra at, and to Lance R. Newey at


We explore how social entrepreneurship (SE) research extends the field of international entrepreneurship (IE) to affect global sustainable well-being. Well-being is a multidimensional concept that includes financial, social, and environmental wealth creation. Much of IE research thus far has been based primarily on assumptions of economic opportunity recognition, evaluation, and exploitation. We use the SE perspectives of blended value and international governance to revise the definition, assumptions, and boundaries of IE at the firm and international policy levels. We propose a broader vision for the IE field based on an expanded set of assumptions beyond traditional economic thinking.