When we think of social entrepreneurs, we often think of heroic figures who are unstoppable. But who are actually the social entrepreneurs? What is the personality of social entrepreneurs? What are their motivations, values, skills, and identities? How are they similar and different from commercial entrepreneurs, activists, employees, volunteers, or the general public?
In a systematic literature review, we synthesised the findings of 50 empirical studies. It differentiates four aspects of the social entrepreneurial personality: motivations, traits, identities, and skills, based on three research approaches: describing the personality of social entrepreneurs, comparing them to another group, and relating personality aspects to social entrepreneurship intentions, activities, and performance outcomes. We offer a multi-dimensional and refined account of who social entrepreneurs are, their diversity, and differences and similarities with commercial entrepreneurs and other individuals. The review proposes several fruitful avenues for future research, including paying attention to heterogeneity among social entrepreneurs, encouraging more theory-based research, research relating personality to personal and venture-level outcomes, and research that considers more dynamic and contextualized perspectives.
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