To read this content please select one of the options below:

An assessment approach for enhancing the organizational performance of social enterprises in India

Sonia Mehrotra (Centre of Excellence for Case Development, Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Bangalore, India)
Smriti Verma (Hindustan University Chennai, India)

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2053-4604

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




This paper aims to analyze the activities of Indian social enterprises, identify the reasons/causes for their shortcomings and suggest a networked model of donor and beneficiary pool so as to enhance the performance efficiencies of these social enterprises to result in a larger social development impact. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social ventures together termed as social enterprises are perceived to be a panacea for all kinds of development in the social sector in the underdeveloped economies. In the past decade, the social enterprises in India have mushroomed and yet the sanctity of their operations and ability to deliver to expectations is questionable.


The research design for pilot study was exploratory followed by descriptive design for the full study. The research adopted a two-phase approach. In Phase I, a loosely structured interview schedule was used to collate the insights from the social enterprises, developed as a survey questionnaire and administered to a sample of 300 social enterprises in Phase II. The part A of the questionnaire had 25 statements to evaluate the criticality of issues faced by social enterprises on a scale of 1-4. The part B of the questionnaire was designed to evaluate the level to which the social enterprises are adjudging themselves to have achieved on the various issues on a scale of 1-4. Out of the total, 236 valid questionnaires as received were analyzed.


The findings of the research indicate six factors under which the major activities of NGOs can be classified. The factors in their order of importance are establishing strategic and operational capabilities, workforce management, establishing functional scaling up, identifying and fulfilling beneficiary pool, identifying and fulfilling donor pool and promotional efforts. A cluster analysis resulted in three clusters, and the criticality of the identified factors under each of the clusters was evaluated. A second-order factor analysis resulted in two dimensions of survival facets and growth facets, wherein a solution for each of the components has been suggested.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the study suggest a prototype model with the three operational pillars of the social enterprise as workforce, donor pool and beneficiary pool. The operational execution of this model can help the social enterprises achieve synergistic working as well as enhance the social development. The limitation of the study is the suggestive nature of the model which needs to be executed for duration of time to gauge its effectiveness. Based on the observations of the implemented model, in future research, a final model could be evolved for implementation.

Practical implications

The outcome of this study is a networked model which could be implemented as a pilot project in one of the regions of the country and later improved based on the recorded observations for implementation across the country.

Social implications

This research has been carried out on the social enterprises operating in the Indian subcontinent, so as to provide solutions for a systemic change across the social enterprises’ operations and make them capable of producing larger reach and developmental impact.


The study is a unique attempt in itself for the Indian subcontinent. No study in the past identifies and maps the activities of the Indian social enterprises under major heads and their ability to perform them effectively. The mapping of social enterprises' activities allows for a discussion platform for the social sector experts to assimilate and synergize the efforts of these enterprises in a wired networked. The resultant model of this study can be implemented and evaluated to prove its worthiness. The effort has been to offer best practices and organized solutions to the unorganized sector of Indian social enterprises.



Mehrotra, S. and Verma, S. (2015), "An assessment approach for enhancing the organizational performance of social enterprises in India", Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 35-54.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles