Do volunteers become social entrepreneurs?

This research examines the influence of pro-social behaviour on social entrepreneurial intentions (SEI).


Drawing on Theory of Planned Behaviour, entrepreneurship and behavioural psychology literatures we examine the influence of volunteers’ traits and behaviour on SEI. 

From a sample of 422 volunteers, our model shows that self-efficacy, perceived social support, opportunity recognition and altruism, influence volunteers’ SEI, while moral obligation, religion and empathy were not significant. Our research thus adds two unexplored antecedents to previous studies, volunteers’ altruism and religion.

The results indicate that without entrepreneurial characteristics such as self-efficacy and opportunity recognition, volunteers are unlikely to engage in social entrepreneurship.  Given that altruism can be triggered by contrasting drivers (e.g. self-interest or selflessness), these differences open up a new venue for further studies on volunteers’ traits and SEI. We also suggest that it will be critical to further address the effect of contextual factors in determining what makes a volunteer become a social entrepreneur.