From heart to heart? How prosocial motivation affects social enterprises’ organizational legitimacy

Yingzhao Xiao, Anna J. C. Hsu*, Kevin Au, Zhen Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review


Gaining legitimacy from market is crucial for the survival and development of social enterprise (SE). Other than institutional determinants, prosocial motivation can gain legitimacy for social entrepreneurs but receive relatively less attention. Drawing on the prosocial motivation literature, we theorize and examine the underlying mechanism and boundary condition for SEs to gain external legitimacy by showcasing their prosocial motivation. A survey (210 SEs) and an experimental study (203 stakeholders in public sectors) were conducted to investigate the perspectives from SEs and external stakeholders respectively. The results reveal that social entrepreneurs’ prosocial motivation has a significant positive impact on SE’s legitimacy, and resource bricolage serves as a mediator. Intriguingly, the indirect effects of prosocial motivation on SEs’ legitimacy through resource bricolage were stronger for social entrepreneurs with higher social class. These findings contribute to the literatures on SE legitimacy, resource bricolage in social entrepreneurship, and the implications of social entrepreneurs’ social background.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication83rd Annual Meeting of The Academy of Management
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'From heart to heart? How prosocial motivation affects social enterprises’ organizational legitimacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this