Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Bonnie Ronson

Committee Member

Analisa Smith


business, entrepreneurship, non profit organization, social action, social enterprise, social responsibilty


Exploring knowledge and awareness of social entrepreneurship is a study created to identify business students’ awareness and knowledge of social entrepreneurship in a business degree program. The social entrepreneurship survey is a descriptive quantitative research instrument that was created to measure students’ knowledge and awareness of social entrepreneurship. The results of this study could be used to identify a potential need for social entrepreneurship academic programs or degrees within the business school. The study used the web-based survey to investigate business students enrolled in a degree program to determine and report if any correlation existed between business graduate students and the research questions that were studied.

The study identified that the current business model of the social enterprise, developed and run by the social entrepreneur, is a real and viable market and one that impacts society. Currently, there exists academic programs at U.S. universities, within academia, along with business incubators and institutions designed to educate and further the mission of the social entrepreneur. Within the business sector and academia, there exists a lack of a clear social entrepreneur theory. The lack of a clear theory is coupled by a lack of social entrepreneurship courses and programs offered by many business schools within the United States. The majority of students surveyed demonstrated a lack of knowledge and awareness of social entrepreneurship.

The results showed that students were not made aware of social entrepreneurship due to any course or program at the institution and were not made aware of social entrepreneurship through academia or outside of students’ education or experience. Students were also questioned on their interest in adding social entrepreneurship courses and topics to the business program and specific topics of interest. The results of this study could be used to demonstrate and develop an accepted theory toward social entrepreneurship and new courses or degree programs within the business school studied. New courses and degree programs would prepare students who may choose to enter the private sector of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship and who may choose a civic-related career due to participation in or exposure to these academic programs and theories.