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Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management: Negotiating Institutional Complexity

Social Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 978-1-80043-791-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-790-6

Publication date: 24 November 2021


Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) increasingly view social entrepreneurship as means to expand their mission scope while simultaneously diversifying revenue streams and strengthening financial foundations. However, the pursuit of social entrepreneurial ventures often incites a tug-of-war phenomenon between the deep-rooted social welfare logic of the parent NPO and a newly evolving commercial logic at the subsidiary social enterprise (SSE). The present study seeks to understand how NPOs navigate such logic conflicts as they strive to become more entrepreneurial. Based upon case studies of two NPOs, we found divergence in organizational identity, legitimacy, and mission/vision between parent nonprofits and their SSEs as they struggled with a defining question: Are we a program or are we a business? Our research indicates that organizations reconcile such cognitive dissonance through four distinct processes: connecting, variegating, separating, and augmenting social welfare and commercial logic spheres. We, thus, contribute to the social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management literatures by illustrating ways in which noncommercial organizations may address issues of logic divergence when engaging in revenue-generating commercial activities.



Ouimette, M., Chowdhury, I. and Kickul, J.R. (2021), "Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management: Negotiating Institutional Complexity", Wasieleski, D.M. and Weber, J. (Ed.) Social Entrepreneurship (Business and Society 360, Vol. 5), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 53-76.



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