What Keeps Social Entrepreneurs Happy? Exploring Personality, Work Design, External Support, and Social Impact as Resources of Social Entrepreneurs’ Mental Well-Being

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Social entrepreneurship (SE) is a new form of entrepreneurship dedicated to the creation of social value for its beneficiaries, either as a for-profit or not-for-profit enterprise. While, over the years, research has yielded notable insights regarding, e.g., social entrepreneurial nascence and motivations or contextual factors (dis-)favoring SE activity, not much is known about the resources social entrepreneurs have to maintain their mental well-being (MWB), which is essential for successfully accomplishing their social missions. The current study takes a psychological view, identifies four resource clusters (personality, work design, external support, and provision of social impact), and integrates these to empirically explore their predictive values for job-specific and general MWB. Building on a representative sample of South African social entrepreneurs from Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces, we apply structural equation modeling and find positive effects on social entrepreneur’s MWB in all resource clusters. Moreover, comparing for-profit and not-for profit social entrepreneurs yields differences in the levels and mechanisms of their MWB resources. Despite notable limitations, such as using cross-sectional data and a limited sample generalizability, our work offers the first framework shedding light on social entrepreneurs’ MWB-resources that can serve as a basis for future research and help SE-support programs to sustainably promote social entrepreneurs’ MWB.


Original languageEnglish
Article number4109
Number of pages23
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85149948704
WOS 000948135700001
Mendeley de8a0c3e-bd26-3fdc-9050-5d79eab00670


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • social entrepreneurship, well-being, resources, Business model differences, Job satisfaction, Personality, Resources, Social entrepreneur, Social impact, Support, Well-being, Work design, well-being, work design, resources, social entrepreneur, business model differences, social impact, personality, support, job satisfaction