Prone to progress: Using personality to identify supporters of innovative social entrepreneurship
One of the main challenges in social entrepreneurship is capturing stakeholder support-from consumers, to legislators, to volunteers, to many others. Identifying likely supporters is the first step to sustainable success, but a difficult one. This research examines whether personality influences a person's tendency to support innovative social entrepreneurial (SE) ventures. Here, the possible influence of the "Big Five" personality traits (i.e., openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism [OCEAN]) is examined; however, in line with prior research, attention is focused on both openness (an OCEAN trait) and empathy (a non-OCEAN trait). Two types of SE ventures are considered: social innovations and technological innovations. Data from a survey evaluating six SE ventures (three social and three technological) reveal that participants' personality influences support; however, observed influence differs by type of venture-openness underlies support of technological innovations, and empathy underlies support of social innovations. Further process analysis demonstrates that this influence is not direct but rather is mediated by people's perceptions of how much change the venture will make. These results offer social entrepreneurs insights into who might be prone to support SE ventures and, more important, why. © 2012, American Marketing Association.
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