Michael Young as a Social Entrepreneur

Published: 2021-08-11 23:50:05
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Category: Entrepreneur, Age

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We are living in an age of entrepreneurship. When Bill Gates, the founder and CEO of Microsoft or Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop seem to be better known around the world than most heads of state, one might conclude that the age of the entrepreneur has arrived. Entrepreneurs of large multinational corporations have had a distinctly important role in shaping today's process of globalization.
The term "entrepreneurship" has historically referred to the efforts of an individual who takes on the odds in translating a vision into a successful business enterprise (Collins & Moore, 1964; Hebert & Link, 1988). More recently, however, entrepreneurship has been conceptualized as a process that can occur in organizations of all sizes and types, such as the public sector, and non-profit organization (Burgelman, 1983; Gartner, 1985; Kao, 1989; Miller, 1983).
In this paper, the author will use the case of Michael Young, Lord Young of Dartington, to discuss how useful is the notion of the 'social entrepreneur' and how different is such a concept from the more traditional portrayal of the private sector entrepreneur.

The Story of Michael Young
Michael Young, one of Britain foremost social entrepreneurs, has died aged 86. Lord Young of Dartington leaves behind dozens of institutions and charities which he either was founder, or played a major hand in creating including the Consumers Association and the Open University. He was an innovative and progressive thinker in political and social policy (Briggs2001).
By any standard, Young must count as one of the most fecund and versatile figures of British life. As head of the Labour Party's research department and one of the people who drafted its manifesto in 1945, he helped craft the terms of the post-war settlement. His seminal study of family and kinship in London's East End gave social inquiry a new direction. He was a prime mover in the development of the Consumers' Association, the Open University, the Social Science Research Council, the University of the Third Age and, most recently, the School of Social Entrepreneurs. For nearly 60 years, Young has fertilised British life with new ideas and new institutions. Yet he is also one of the authors of a reactionary orthodoxy that lies on British politics and education with the weight of a corpse (Briggs2001).
His many dragon seeds have included starting the Advisory Centre for Education, which provided information on education issues (1960); the National Consumer Council (1975); the University of the Third Age, or U3A (1982); the Open College of the Arts, which taught practical arts by correspondence (1987); the National Association for the Education of Sick Children (1993); a Family Covenant Association, for promoting a secular form of Baptism (1994); and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (1998) (Gray2001)
The Nature of Entrepreneurship
According to Collins, Moore, (1964), the entrepreneur was defined as 'a risk-taker - a man who braves uncertainty, strikes out on his own, and, through native wit, devotion ot duty, and singleness of purpose, somehow creates business and industrial activity where none existed before'. In a 21st century business context, and largely as lay people understand it, entrepreneur typically refers to 'a person who undertakes or controls a business or enterprise and bears the risk of profit or loss' (Brown 1993),
Underlying entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors are three key dimensions: innovativeness, risk taking, and proactiveness (Covin & Slevin, 1989; Miller, 1983; Morris & Sexton, 1996). Innovativeness refers to the seeking of creative, unusual, or novel solutions to problems and needs. These solutions take the form of new technologies and processes, as well as new products and services. Risk taking involves the willingness to commit significant resources to opportunities having a reasonable chance of costly failure. These risks are typically moderate and calculated. Proactiveness is concerned with implementation, with doing what is necessary to bring an entrepreneurial concept to fruition. It usually involves considerable perseverance, adaptability, and a willingness to assume responsibility for failure.
To the extent that an undertaking demonstrates some amount of innovativeness, risk taking, and proactiveness, it can be considered an entrepreneurial event, and the person behind it an entrepreneur. Further, any number of entrepreneurial events can be produced in a given time period (Stevenson & Jarillo, 1990). Accordingly, entrepreneurship is not an either/or determination, but a question of "degree" and "frequency." Organizations can be characterized, then, in terms of their entrepreneurial orientation or "intensity," which is a reflection both of how many entrepreneurial things they are doing, and how innovative, risky, and proactive those things tend to be.
By dissecting the critical elements of entrepreneurship, we are able to highlight the essential ingredients for society to nurture, cultivate and value. It also frees the term for use in non-business, non-profit-seeking ventures. It blurs the boundaries between the business and social sectors in potentially useful ways as well and foreshadows a cultural shift in what we value. And Casson (1995) notes that entrepreneurship can be a distributed process across the public/private divide. He (1995) argues: "The public sector and the private sector therefore offer two distinct channels of advancement for the entrepreneur. The rewards to entrepreneurship in the public sector come more in the form of status rather than of income, of course.
Difference Between Social Entrepreneur and Private Sector Entrepreneur
The different mission
Compare to the private sector entrepreneur, social entrepreneurs has the different mission (Ackerman1996). Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by adopting a mission to create and sustain social value, not just private value. For social entrepreneurs, the social mission is explicit and central. This obviously affects how social entrepreneurs perceive and assess opportunities. Mission-related impact becomes the central criterion, not wealth creation. Wealth is just a means to an end for social entrepreneurs. With business entrepreneurs, wealth creation is a way of measuring value creation. This is because business entrepreneurs are subject to market discipline, which determines in large part whether they are creating value. If they do not shift resources to more economically productive uses, they tend to be driven out of business.
Different measurements to value creation
In the modern market, the value created by private sector entrepreneur can be clearly calculated by the market value. Whereas, it is inherently difficult to measure social value creation (Dees 1998). How much social value is created by reducing pollution in a given stream, by saving the spotted owl, or by providing companionship to the elderly? The calculations are not only hard but also contentious. Even when improvements can be measured, it is often difficult to attribute them to a specific intervention. Are the lower crime rates in an area due to the Block Watch, new policing techniques, or just a better economy? Even when improvements can be measured and attributed to a given intervention, social entrepreneurs often cannot capture the value they have created in an economic form to pay for the resources they use.
Defining Social Entrepreneurship
Although the growing attention devoted to the phenomenon, there have not a generally accepted definition of public/social sector entrepreneurship to emerge. Many of prior studies provided the definition of social entrepreneurship. Such as Bellone & Goerl (1992) social entrepreneurship is an active approach to administrative responsibility that includes generating new sources of revenue, providing enhanced services, and helping to facilitate increased citizen education and involvement. Osborne & Gaebler (1992) state it as a continuous attempt to apply resources in new ways so as to heighten the efficiency and effectiveness of public institutions. Linden (1990) concluded it as the purposeful and organized search for innovative changes in public sector organizations and operations.
Base on such prior studies, Dees (1998) stated social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by:

Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value),
Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,
Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning,
Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and
Exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created.

Dees (1998) also mentioned this is clearly an "idealized" definition. Social sector leaders will exemplify these characteristics in different ways and to different degrees. The closer a person gets to satisfying all these conditions, the more that person fits the model of a social entrepreneur. Those who are more innovative in their work and who create more significant social improvements will naturally be seen as more entrepreneurial. The truly Schumpeterian social entrepreneurs will significantly reform or revolutionize their industries.
In sum, social entrepreneurship extends the definition of entrepreneurship by its emphasis on ethical integrity and maximizing social value rather than private value or profit.
How Michael Young fits the model of a social entrepreneur?
To consider how far that Michael Young was entrepreneurial? It is better to consider who closer Michael Young gets to satisfying all such conditions mentioned in the last section. Also Brazeal and Herbert (1999A) stated the way of viewing entrepreneurship is to recognize that entrepreneurship is enabled by the current or potential existence of something new (an innovation), new ways of looking at old problems (Creativity), or the lessened capability of prior processes or solutions to respond effectively to new problem parameters brought on by new or emerging external conditions (environmental change), which can supplant or be complementary to existing processes or solutions (a change), when championed by one or more invested individuals (the innovator). In the follow, some attributions of Michael Young are listed, and it is clear that Michael Young is a successful social entrepreneurial.
Young often turned personal experience into new opportunities for social action (Gary 2001). While in hospital with cancer, he devised the idea of the College of Health (and with his sense of provocative fun, he originally called it the Association of Trained Patients). While organizing the funeral of his wife, he saw the need to improve the training of funeral directors, and so he established the National Funerals College. When he discovered that Bengali patients at the London Hospital were unable to explain to doctors what was wrong with them he launched a telephone exchange offering instant translation services. His energy seemed unstoppable, and even into his late seventies he was publishing books and creating even more organizations.
Young created an alternative vision of education (Briggs2001). His views on education were often controversial, and heavily influenced by his time spent as a young man at the alternative school at Dartington Hall. The school was based on the philosophy of Rousseau who held the belief that all children were born gifted in one way or another and needed only to be fed and watered, like plants, for their gifts to grow.
Michael Young re-stated the egalitarian vision (Gary 2001). He stated where we to evaluate people, not only according to their intelligence and their education, their occupations and their power, but according to their kindliness and their courage, their imagination and sensitivity, their sympathy and generosity, there would be no overall inequalities of the sort we have got used to. Who would be able to say that the scientist was superior to the porter with admirable qualities as a father, the civil servant to the lorry-driver with unusual skills at growing roses?
In sum up, Michael Young has undoubtedly been a great innovator, and the greatest social entrepreneur in the UK. The valuation created by Michael Young is significant with the private sector entrepreneur. He was an innovative and progressive thinker in political and social policy.

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