Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

International Conference on ‘Uncertainty, Social Entrepreneurship and Role of Technology’


Feb. 22, 2023 - Feb. 24, 2023

Venue: Mumbai Campus


Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE)

School of Management and Labour Studies

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (India)


International Conference on

Uncertainty, Social Entrepreneurship and Role of Technology’

February 22 to 24, 2023


Concept Note


Entrepreneurship requires action (intentional behaviour), and so does social entrepreneurship. Therefore, to be an entrepreneur/social entrepreneur, it is critical to act on the identified opportunity. However, whether entrepreneurial action occurs depends on how much one must rely on one’s judgment, which, in turn, depends on the degree of uncertainty experienced in the decision of whether to act (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006). It clearly indicates the importance of how it occurs (the process of entrepreneurship) and the individual who does it (decision-making of an individual).

At the same time, the concept of ‘uncertainty’ has been of interest for the researchers, particularly in areas concerned with decision-making and knowledge (Wakeham, 2015). It inevitably establishes strong connection between the two, i.e., uncertainty and social entrepreneurship. It becomes crucial to understand the act of decision-making of an individual under uncertainty to understand social entrepreneurship. Sometimes, crisis creates uncertainty, and to respond to the fluid nature of the crisis, decision-makers need to break out of the existing patterns by focussing on social entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial action is fraught with uncertainty, and yet, some of the leading theoretical frameworks in the entrepreneurship literature downplay uncertainty (Klein, 2020). These approaches are not enough to describe doing business in a world of rapid technological change, social disruption, economic volatility, or a major health crisis (ibid.). It is true in the context of social entrepreneurship as well because social entrepreneurs also follow the same entrepreneurial process to solve social problems and achieve their social mission.

Social entrepreneurship drives societal transformations, and social entrepreneurs concurrently act to address particular social issues and problems and empower transformational progress throughout the system (Gandhi and Raina, 2018). They also play an important role in the recovery of areas struck by natural disasters (Chandra and Paras, 2020). They solve social and/or environmental problems and create social value. Social entrepreneurs are known as ‘change agents’ (Nicholls, 2006). Not only they face various forms of uncertainty in the process of solving the social problem, sometimes, they also initiate entrepreneurship to address the problem created by the uncertain situation. In other words, like any other entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur also operates in the same uncertain world.

The concept of ‘uncertainty’ has been used in economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, management, etc. (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006; Wakeham, 2015). In social sciences, ‘uncertainty’ has varied meanings, depending on the agenda, methods and theoretical assumptions of the researcher (Wakeham, 2015).  ‘Uncertainty refers to an inevitable feature of the chaotic, unpredictable world, yet it also refers to a psychological state or phenomenological experience (Wakeham, 2015, p. 720).

In a broader sense, uncertainty refers to an epistemic state at the limits of knowledge (Wakeham, 2015). It is concerned with ‘what is known or believed without certainty’. It is also concerned with ‘what is not known’. There are subjective and objective dimensions to uncertainty (Tannert et al., 2007). Let’s focus on the subjective dimensions of uncertainty first. An individual may experience uncertainty with regard to his or her own knowledge about some particular topic. There are questions of not only how the experience of uncertainty drives or influences behaviour but also how social context shapes the perception and experience of this cognitive and emotional uncertainty. The objective dimensions of uncertainty presume a world out there that is knowable only to a degree. Uncertainty, in this sense, is not necessarily something that is felt, but rather a feature of living in a complex world. Within social sciences, researchers have emphasized different aspects of uncertainty, depending on their field and their research subject.

In this context, it will be exciting to know how objective and subjective dimensions of uncertainty influence the behaviour of social entrepreneurs and drive the process of social entrepreneurship.

 In addition, sometimes crisis creates uncertainty. We all witnessed uncertainty created by the Covid-19 crisis. Country-after-country has been infected by the Covid-19 pandemic at different levels, each imposing massive costs and unfathomable uncertainties (Etemad, 2020). Covid-19 pandemic is a public health crisis with profound implications for society (Bacq and Lumpkin, 2020). The emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020 brought radical, unanticipated economic, political and social changes. In most parts of the world, schools, business and workplaces were closed (voluntarily or involuntarily); people sheltered in their homes; and bankruptcies and unemployment soared. Governments and central banks announced unprecedented stimulus and subsidy packages, but many companies large and small, operating with razor-thin cash reserves, are struggling to survive (Klein, 2020). In order to adjust to the new reality more entrepreneurship is required, particularly social forms that focus on value co-creation (Ratten, 2020). Thus, more innovative thinking is required to meet sudden social change (ibid.). In fact, the rapidly emerging evidence suggests that the capable, far-sighted and innovative enterprises perceived the slow-downs, or stoppages in some cases, as an opportunity for starting, or increasing, their alternative ways of sustaining activities, including online and remote activities and involvements. In this context, technology has a lot to offer. Organizations can wholesale social change or develop programs that almost overnight touch millions of people using technology to provide innovative solutions (Hecht, 2008). Technology cannot solve all the problems, but certainly, application of technology and innovation can play an important role to bring positive social change in the lives of these people (Majumdar, Guha and Marakkath, 2015).

We all witnessed how technology has enabled us to address many of the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, telemedicine services, work from home option and remote collaboration and online school/college classes. Technology has become a critical enabling tool for governments, international health organizations and populations to enhance our collective response to the crisis (Mansouri, 2020). The current crisis has brought in many innovative use cases for existing technology. Tunisia deployed robots to check their awareness of lockdown rules and the reasons for people’s movements during lockdown. African countries, such as Kenya, have turned to mobile money as a public tool (ibid.). In India, many start-ups have come forward to address the challenges during the pandemic. In response to the shortage of ventilators for critical care, start-ups such as Nocca Robotics, Aerobiosys Innovations and AgVa Healthcare are developing low-cost, user-friendly and portable ventilators that can be deployed even in rural areas of India (Sahasranamam, 2020). There is a need to enhance the entrepreneurial mindset, technology adoption and innovation not only to continue the fight against Covid-19, but also to respond to other challenges created by uncertain situations in future.

No doubt, the previous few years have noticed a striking and surprising progress in the field of social entrepreneurship and has amplified attention ranging throughout all the diverse sectors (Gandhi and Raina, 2018). However, several critical questions remain unanswered in the context of uncertainty, demanding scholarly attention. For example, how should social entrepreneurs think, plan and act in times of uncertainty created by crisis? How do they deal with uncertainty in general? How do social entrepreneurs recognize/identify opportunities in uncertain situation? What role does technology play in an uncertain time to solve the social problems? How can technology be deployed in the process of social entrepreneurship for wholesaling social change in uncertain situations? How can technology help entrepreneurs to deal with uncertainties efficiently in the social entrepreneurial process?

In this pretext, the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) of School of Management and Labour Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai Campus, proposes to organise the International Conference on ‘Uncertainty, Social Entrepreneurship and Role of Technology’ from February 22 to 24, 2023.

While we invite the scholars and practitioners to come forward to submit their works for discussion and deliberations, we propose the following themes and questions:

  • Uncertainty and Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities: Limitations and Possibilities

  1. Does uncertainty open up new opportunities? Why and how?

  2. Does uncertainty lead to severe limiting conditions for the existing social enterprises?

  3. Does uncertainty compel to opening new social enterprise structure, system and processes?


  • Coping/Dealing with Uncertainties in Social Entrepreneurship

  1. How do social entrepreneurs cope/deal with uncertainties in the process of social entrepreneurship?

  2. Does gender make any difference in how social entrepreneurs handle uncertainties in social entrepreneurship?

  3. Can social entrepreneurs manage uncertainty and growth simultaneously?


  • Role of Technology in Social Entrepreneurship in Uncertain Situations

  1. Does technology enforce conditions to affect value delivery?

  2. Does technology open up possibilities of new stakeholder engagement?

  3. Does technology open up new ways of stakeholder engagement?


  • Role of Technology in Dealing with Uncertainties in Social Entrepreneurship

  1. Does technology improve delivery of value?

  2. Does technology enhance the pace of social change?

  3. How does a social enterprise build up capability of technology adoption?


  • FinTech and Social entrepreneurship

  1. How are financial technologies evolving and solving social problems?

  2. Does financial technologies lead to better financial inclusion?

  3. How do the poorest benefit from financial technologies?


  • 4th Industrial Revolution and Social Entrepreneurship

  1. How are the emerging technologies bridging the digital divide?

  2. What are the potential impacts of 4th Industrial Revolution in economies?

  3. How is the 4th Industrial Revolution contributing to social and economic development?

  4. How does social entrepreneurship education respond to the challenges of 4th Industrial Revolution?


  • Agri-Tech and Social Entrepreneurship

  1. How is Agri-tech evolving and solving the problems in agriculture?

  2. How are small farmers benefiting from Agri-tech?

These are indicative areas for discussion.

We invite papers, both theoretical and empirical, that focus on the research themes outlined above. We also invite interested delegates to participate in these deliberations without submitting a paper. Authors must submit an extended abstract (Background, research questions/objectives and research methodology, findings, discussion and conclusion) in about 2000 words to Dr Archana Singh, Assistant Professor and Conference Coordinator (email id: cse.conference@tiss.edu) not later than July 31, 2022. PhD scholars and junior researchers are encouraged to submit their research proposals. Relevance of papers, quality of objectives/ research questions and robust methodology would be the critical parameters for selection of the papers to be presented at the Conference. The extended abstract must contain author name, institutional affiliation, contact number, email and postal address. Authors will be notified of acceptance or otherwise by August 15, 2022. They will be required to submit the full paper by October 15, 2022.

Registration and Accommodation


Registration will start from January 10, 2023.  The delegates, both paper presenters and otherwise, are expected to pay registration fee as per the table below. Individual registration will be required in case of papers written by multiple authors.



Registration Fee without Accommodation

Registration Fee with Accommodation


INR 10000

INR 20000


USD 400

USD 800


We have limited accommodation on first-come-first-serve on twin-sharing basis. ‘Registration Fee without Accommodation’ for the Conference covers conference kit, lunch, networking dinner (Day 2), whereas ‘Registration Fee with Accommodation’ includes conference kit, networking dinner (Day 2), breakfast, lunch and dinner for four nights, i.e., from Feb 21 to 24, 2023.

Registration fees are non-refundable.

The registration fee should be paid through demand draft or multi-city cheque drawn in favour of ‘Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ payable at Mumbai, mailed to ‘Dr Archana Singh, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, School of Management and Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, V N Purav Marg, Deonar, Mumbai - 400 088 (Maharashtra)’. Senders must write their names, addresses and affiliation on the backside of the cheque or draft. The link for online bank transfer of the registration fees will be shared later.

Important Dates

Submission of Extended Abstract in the prescribed structure: July 31, 2022

Notification on acceptance of the Extended Abstract: August 15, 2022

Submission of Full Paper (First Draft): October 15, 2022

Notification of Acceptance (First Draft): November 30, 2022

Submission of Revised Full Paper: December 30, 2022

Notification of Acceptance (Revised Paper): January 6, 2023

Registration Starts for Paper Presenters and other Delegates: January 10, 2023

Registration Ends for Paper Presenters: February 5, 2023

Registration Ends for other Delegates: February 15, 2023

Power point Presentation Submission: January 30, 2023

International Conference: February 22-24, 2023


Registration link: https://bit.ly/ICUSR2023

Online payment link: https://lnkd.in/g_bFKke


Please address all communications to

Dr Archana Singh

Assistant Professor & Conference Coordinator

Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

School of Management & Labour Studies,

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, V N Purav Marg, Deonar,

Mumbai 400 088 (Maharashtra, India)

Telephone (Office): + 91 22 2552 5816

Email: cse.conference@tiss.edu



Bacq, S. and Lumpkin G. T. (2020). Social Entrepreneurship and COVID-19. Journal of Management Studies. doi:10.1111/joms.12641

Chandra, Y.  and Paras, A. (2020). Social entrepreneurship in the context of disaster recovery: Organizing for public value creation. Public Management Review, 1-22. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1083-5813

Etemad, H. (2020). Managing uncertain consequences of a global crisis: SMEs encountering adversities, losses, and new opportunities. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 18, 125–144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10843-020-00279-z

Gandhi, T. and Raina, R. (2018). Social entrepreneurship: the need, relevance, facets and constraints. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 8 (9). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40497-018-0094-6

Hecht, B. (2008). Wholesaling Social Change: Philanthropy's Strategic Inflection Point. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 37, 163-173. DOI: 10.1177/0899764007307905

Klein, P. G. (2020). Uncertainty and entrepreneurial judgment during a health crisis. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 14, 563–565. DOI: 10.1002/sej.1382

McMullen, J. S. and Shepherd, D. A. (2006). Entrepreneurial action and the role of uncertainty in the theory of the entrepreneur.  The Academy of Management Review, 31(1), 132-152

Ratten, V. (2020). Coronavirus (covid-19) and social value co-creation. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, DOI 10.1108/IJSSP-06-2020-0237

Mansouri, A. (2020) COVID-19: Leveraging technology to solve problems now and tomorrow. Retrieved on 02 February 2021 from https://www.iqvia.com/locations/middle-east-and-africa/blogs/2020/04/covid19-leveraging-technology-to-solve-problems-now-and-tomorrow

Majumdar, S., Guha, S. and Marakkath, N. (Editors) (2015). Technology and Innovation for Social Change. Springer, New Delhi, India.

Nicholls, A. (2006). Introduction.  In A. Nicholls (Ed.), Social entrepreneurship: New models of sustainable change (pp. 1-35). New York: OXFORD University Press.

Sahasranamam, S. (2020).  India: how coronavirus sparked a wave of innovation. Retrieved on 02 February from https://theconversation.com/india-how-coronavirus-sparked-a-wave-of-innovation-135715

Tannert, C., Elvers, H., Jandrig, B. (2007). The ethics of uncertainty. In the light of possible dangers, research becomes a moral duty. EMBO Reports, 8(10), 892–896.

Wakeham, J. C. (2015). Uncertainty: History of the concept. Retrieved on 12 Jan 2021 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304189116_Uncertainty_History_of_the_Concept/link/5a14dcaca6fdccd697bbf6c5/download