Comparing orientation in social entrepreneurship organisations
Social entrepreneurship organisations act as change catalysts, seizing opportunities and mobilising others in the local community to address complex social issues. Social entrepreneurship is important but organisations display considerable variation in orientation. Some have an 'enterprising and entrepreneurial' orientation while others have a 'volunteer service' approach, but the differences are not well explored in the research literature. This paper examines two cases which had many common features but operated from different orientations. Both organisations were successful, but the different orientation affected the operation. Differences were apparent in the goals they set, how they achieved their objectives, how decisions were made, how they attracted resources, the way relationships were built with stakeholders, and the priority given to strategic growth. Orientation affects an organisation's functioning but not its capacity to deliver the social mission. Both kinds of organisations may become sustainable but they reach this point through a diverse set of processes. The desired social mission and the prevailing environmental context affect the organisation and its actions, but the organisational orientation originates from the previous experiences, agreed values and ideals of the founders. The cases demonstrate a continuum in orientation in social entrepreneurship organisations from volunteer service to enterprising and entrepreneurial. A review of the social entrepreneurship definition may be warranted to better distinguish between different kinds of organisations. Practice implications from this research include recognition of diversity in social organisations. If key founders identify and articulate their values and intended approach, those associated with the organisation can align actions to achieve the goals. Varied theoretical frameworks assist understanding: resource based view is appropriate sometimes, but contingency theory may also have some relevance.
3rd International Social Entrepreneurship Research Conference (ISERC)