Social entrepreneurship: the role of HRM in youth employment.

AuthorEllis, Crystal L.

    There are many issues facing society today. The issues facing the business economy can be manifested from the environment, employees, investors, customers, and the community (Scarborough, 2012). Since the economy is embedded within society, there is a need to focus on society and its development (Brown, 1995). From an entrepreneurial perspective, social entrepreneurship (SE) is defined as the "process to creative vision, leadership, and the will to succeed in inducing social change" (Mars & Garrison, 2009, p. 291). Further, it is the use of creativity and innovativeness in order to address and try to solve issues in society (Short & Palmer, 2008). SE mainly focuses on identifying the disadvantaged populations in order to provide benefit (Martin & Osberg, 2007). One large issue facing society today is neglected youth. There is a growing percentage of children living in poverty within the U.S., getting as high as 40 percent in large cities in 1999 (Riley, 1999). Other issues facing youth include child abuse, teen suicide, and school dropouts (Riley, 1999). Since social entrepreneurship is more concerned about innovative opportunities that can lead to long lasting societial growth (Sud, VanSandt, & Baugous, 2009), the best way to do this is through employing these troubled youths in order for them to learn responsibility. For example, a study by Brown-Liburd and Porco (2011) showed that internships provided a positive impact on the ethical development of students. Overall, work provides value to society by making it possible for the society to progress (Foucauld, 1996).

    Due to this growing concern for today's youth, we must understand what is needed in the relationship between social entrepreneurship and youth employment in order to make it stronger. The process of HRM can be identified as a way to strengthen this relationship. Thus, the purpose of this study is to test the extent of the moderating affect of the HRM process on the relationship between SE and youth employment. In the following sections, I identify the how SE plays a role in addressing this growing societal concern for today's youth. I further discuss how this leads to youth employment, and how strength of the HRM system must be maintained in order to lead to long-term youth employment. I end with hypotheses, methodology, expectations for results, and suggestions for research.


    Social entrepreneurship pertains to the social responsibility through the incorporation of innovation (Perrini, Vurro, & Costanzo, 2010). While some have defined it as entrepreneurs that are acting in a socially responsible way (i.e. Perrini, Vurro, & Costanzo, 2010), others have termed it as activities that innovatively address social issues (i.e. Thompson, 2008). With these inconsistencies, it has resulted in an inconclusive definition of social entrepreneurship (Zahra, Rawhouser, Bhawe, Neubaum, & Hayton, 2006). For the purpose of this paper, social entrepreneurship will be defined as firms acting in an innovative way towards being socially responsible. Since these firms are concerned with the development of the society, the decision makers must be aware of the issues in society in order to help with the advancement of them. If there are imbalances or inequality within a society, people have the ability to identify these inequalities through opportunity recognition and further develop these opportunities into something that can be pursued (Roininen & Ylinenpea, 2009). From a social responsibility perspective, there are many imbalances that can arise. As mentioned, societal issues can arise from the customers, employees, investors, environment, and community (Scarborough, 2012). These firms have a responsibility to customers, ensuring that safe products and services are offered (Scarborough, 2012). They also have a responsibility to their employees, ensuring that a safe workplace is provided (Scarborough, 2012). These firms must ensure that their actions are in the best interest of their investors. The environment aspect pertains to the 'going green' initiative, which focuses on environmental sustainability (Jackson & Seo, 2010). Lastly, the community aspect focuses on providing jobs and creating wealth within the local community (Scarborough, 2012). If firms that have a SE focus are in a community that depicts troubled youth, the company's focus becomes on developing the youth within the community (Riley, 1999).

    2.1 Youth Employment

    It is important to mention that developing the youth of a community should focus on teaching them...

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