Entrepreneurship professor’s study ranked No. 6 on 2021 list of 100 most influential papers

UAB continues to lead the way in the evolving field of social entrepreneurship: Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the field’s top scholars.

Patrick Murphy speaking to a group of students. UAB continues to lead the way in the evolving field of social entrepreneurship: Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the field’s top scholars.
(Photography: Steve Wood)
Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., professor and Goodrich Chair of Entrepreneurship in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, has been recognized as one of the top social entrepreneurship scholars.  

In a new publication that ranked the 100 most influential papers in the field, Murphy’s “A Model of Social Entrepreneurial Discovery” was ranked as the sixth most impactful. The paper appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics in 2009.

The study that reported the rankings was published in July 2021 by France-based researchers Ranville and Barros. The two researchers undertook a large-scale empirical study that began with the 500 top-cited papers in the social entrepreneurship field. That list was narrowed to 100 papers, which were then ranked based on in-depth quantitative and qualitative analyses.  

“This ranking shows the power of UAB thought leadership in the entrepreneurship field,” Murphy said. “Our ‘Social and Community Enterprise’ course is required in our UAB entrepreneurship major, and we teach the framework from this 2009 paper in that class.” 

Environmental headshot of Dr. Patrick Murphy, PhD Patrick Murphy, Ph.D.
(Photography: Steve Wood)
The framework introduced in the paper casts integrated configurations of the triple-bottom line resources — economic, ecological, social — in the context of venture launch timing and constituency mobilization. For social enterprises seeking to make impact in terms of the triple bottom-line, the ability to generate more than one value denomination with one operational model is key to entrepreneurial success. Launching too early or too late, with respect to the readiness of the constituency one intends to serve, can hinder this ability, which can account for performance differentials that yield either success or failure for social ventures. 

Murphy says the current generation of university students are especially interested in entrepreneurial activity that not only generates economic value, but also makes a difference in communities and in society. 

“This framework has been taught in business schools for a decade, but every year it has become a bit more relevant to what entrepreneurship students wish to learn,” Murphy said. “Technological advancements and a growing prevalence of socially minded values as Generation Z enters universities are driving greater professional interest in purposeful entrepreneurial careers.”

The study was co-written with Susan M.T. Coombes, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.