Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Giorgi Areshidze

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2018 Elijah H Etzioni


Using a combination of interviews of social entrepreneurs and secondary research, this paper investigates the strategies that social entrepreneurs use to overcome tension and conflict between the two distinct goals of financial sustainability and mission fulfillment. The results suggest that although some social entrepreneurs can simultaneously achieve revenue generation and mission fulfillment, thus almost entirely eliminating any tension or misalignment, it is the creative responses of social entrepreneurs who have achieved one of these objectives and are attempting to achieve the other that prove the unique value of the practice. Additionally, the results gesture towards the conclusion that different kinds of profit-purpose tension are differentially challenging to overcome. Ultimately, this paper suggests that it is only by interrogating the past experiences of social entrepreneurs that answers to the most difficult questions in the field can be obtained.