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Challenges of Hybridizing Innovation: Exploring Structural Attractors as Constraints

Hybrid Ventures

ISBN: 978-1-78743-078-5, eISBN: 978-1-78743-077-8

Publication date: 14 November 2017


World Vision exists to eradicate extreme poverty. The primary fundraising mechanism that has fuelled its growth into one of the largest international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) has been Child Sponsorship, which connects over 10 million individual donors with vulnerable children around the world. However, shifts in the market, geopolitical landscape, and institutional logics have seen this once innovative product come under increasing pressure. Using World Vision New Zealand (WVNZ) as a case study, we explore the challenges of implementing social entrepreneurship strategies, including the institutional constraints of developing new business models, through hybridization. Hybridity has gained increasing attention in the field of entrepreneurship and has been offered as a sense-making frame for business model innovation within social entrepreneurship. The use of institutional logics to understand the challenges of hybrid organizing in social entrepreneurship has been invaluable. However, as with any theoretical perspective, this approach has limitations. We suggest that nuanced challenges and sources of resistance to social entrepreneurship in established sectors and organizations might usefully be explored through concepts drawn from complexity theory. Specifically, we propose the use of the concept of structural attractors, which enables the explication of convergent, unifying, and generative dynamics. Our case study findings suggest that, paradoxically, the very essence of historical success may constrain future success. To wit, when faced with changes to institutional and market conditions, WVNZ was constrained by the very construct that enabled its initial growth. The challenge that this case demonstrates is that despite ostensibly hybrid shifts occurring in the management, governance, and espoused innovation strategy of the organization, the governing structural attractor of Child Sponsorship has constrained innovation and change.



Newth, J., Shepherd, D. and Woods, C. (2017), "Challenges of Hybridizing Innovation: Exploring Structural Attractors as Constraints", Corbett, A.C. and Katz, J.A. (Ed.) Hybrid Ventures (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 61-91.



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