Why do good deeds go unnoticed? A perspective on the legitimacy Judgment of social entrepreneurship in China

Wen Zhi Zheng, Yichao Chen, Yufang Dai, Yenchun Jim Wu*, Mengting Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The support of entrepreneurial partners is key to social entrepreneurship and the continuous creation of social value. However, social entrepreneurship in China does not receive sufficient support from venture partners, contrary to the moral spirit of benevolence advocated by traditional Chinese Confucianism. From the perspective of the legitimacy judgement of entrepreneurial partners and using information processing theory, we construct a theoretical model of the interaction between uncertainty and entrepreneurial passion in entrepreneurial engagement and test hypotheses with data from 325 questionnaires completed in China. The results show that uncertainty negatively affects social entrepreneurial engagement, entrepreneurial passion positively affects social entrepreneurial engagement, and legitimacy judgement plays a mediating role in the relationship among uncertainty, entrepreneurial passion, and entrepreneurial engagement. The interaction between uncertainty and entrepreneurial passion affects entrepreneurial engagement through pragmatic legitimacy judgements and moral legitimacy judgements but not through relational legitimacy judgements. We examine why it is difficult for meritorious Chinese social entrepreneurial activities to obtain sufficient support from the perspective of entrepreneurial partners’ judgements, extending the legitimacy judgement theory of social entrepreneurship from the perspective of interaction between individuals and the context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-806
Number of pages19
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Entrepreneurial passion
  • legitimacy judgement
  • social entrepreneurship partners
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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