Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Sarah B Feldner

Second Advisor

Jeremy Fyke

Third Advisor

Bonnie Brennen

Abstract

Social entrepreneurs play the role of the "change maker" in society by adopting business practices to create and sustain social value within the social sector. These individuals engage in processes that explore innovation and new opportunities to serve their missions. Social entrepreneurs are continually being described as visionaries, suggesting a defining characteristic of social entrepreneurs that they are relentless in their pursuit of fulfilling their vision. As social entrepreneurs continue to receive international attention for their goals for social change and innovation, it is important to further analyze social entrepreneurs from a communication perspective because it is believed that it is the entrepreneurs' personal mission, internal values and motivation that is likely to drive their ventures. Drawing on social constructionist perspective and organizational identity research to provide a theoretical lens, this research explores social entrepreneurs through in-depth interviews to explore the impact visionary leaders have on their social enterprises.