The incorporation of entrepreneurship into social work education: combining social and commercial norms

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Over the past few decades, the field of entrepreneurship education has undergone exponential growth. Courses in entrepreneurship are now found in many different fields of education, including ones that have a social rather than a commercial focus. In line with this, courses in social entrepreneurship are now common within social work education. Entrepreneurship offers new opportunities in terms of dealing with societal problems. Still, entrepreneurship is based on rationales that potentially conflict with the norms found in social work education. In order to find ways to implement entrepreneurship in education, a better understanding of the different norms must be developed. In this article, the potentially conflicting norms are explored through a case study of social work students in Denmark who participated in an entrepreneurship competition. The study indicates that the students felt alienated because of the commercial and competitive aspects, which seemed to be predominant within the entrepreneurship community. On the other hand, the students’ focus on social issues seemed to be in line with the ideals and norms of entrepreneurship. Thus, both differences and similarities seem to exist between the different institutions and traditions explored. At the end of the article, future perspectives and potentials regarding social work education and entrepreneurship are discussed.
Original languageDanish
JournalSocial Work Education
Pages (from-to)1-20
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • aesthetics, design and media
  • children and youth
  • learning, educational science and teaching
  • social work and social conditions
  • education, professions and jobs

Cite this