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Feeling capable and valued: A prosocial perspective on the link between empathy and social entrepreneurial intentions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Elisa Alt, Sophie Bacq

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-350
Issue number3
Early online date9 Feb 2018
Accepted/In press24 Jan 2018
E-pub ahead of print9 Feb 2018
Published9 Feb 2018


King's Authors


Empathy is a key trait distinguishing social entrepreneurs from traditional entrepreneurs, and an important antecedent of social entrepreneurial (SE) intentions. Yet, little research explains the mechanisms through which empathy motivates SE intentions. We argue that studying the link between the prosocial trait of empathy and the prosocial outcome of SE intentions requires a prosocial lens that traditional entrepreneurial intent theories cannot offer. Building on prosocial motives research, we propose that empathy explains SE intentions through two complementary mechanisms: self-efficacy (an agentic mechanism), and social worth (a communal mechanism). We find support for our hypotheses in a study of 281 university students.

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