Social entrepreneurship has been the object of increasing interest, both in research and politics (Spear, 2006; Hockerts, 2006; Defourny & Nyssens, 2008; Short et al., 2009; Bloom & Smith, 2010; Dees, 2012; Hockerts, 2015). In light of growing global challenges, such as climate change, globalisation and demographic change, it is often seen as one of the most promising ways to address societal and environmental problems. Social entrepreneurs tackle these problems by combining for-profit practices with non-profit missions. But, if social entrepreneurship is supposed to generate a real impact on complex societal problems, the question of how to scale social innovations efficiently and effectively is crucial. (Dees et al., 2004; Bloom & Smith, 2010).
Since social businesses seek the triple-bottom-line (Spreckley, 1981; Elkington, 1994), the scaling of social innovations face several additional challenges compared to for-profit ventures. It depends on systemic contexts and the resources that social entrepreneurs can mobilise (Boschee, 2008; Danzin, Danzin & Matear, 2010). Despite a growing number of research on how to scale social impact (Alvord et al., 2004; Sharir & Lerner, 2005; Sherman, 2007; Grant & Crutchfield, 2007; Bloom & Smith, 2010; Hockerts, 2015), more complete theorising and empirical tests on this topic are still needed.
The aim of this special issue is to support further theoretical and empirical research on scaling social impact. We invite papers that examine how social entrepreneurs can overcome barriers to growth as well as papers that focus on positive interrelationships between the success of social businesses and their business model, their founding team, it's supporting infrastructure and alike.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Social business models
- Business strategies and organisational policies
- Turning theory of change into impact evidence
- Structure of and interaction with external ecosystems
- Collaborative capitalism and impact investing
Submission of manuscripts: 15 April, 2017