Published in: VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Cited as: Chatzichristos, G. and N. Nagopoulos (2020). “Social Entrepreneurship and Institutional Sustainability: Insights from an Embedded Social Enterprise.” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 31(3): 484-493.
Mainstream enterprises function by alleviating the cognitive burdens on their members and hence generating an insensitivity to all those complex environmental factors, in which they critically depend. By focusing on the political, institutional dynamics, the present article dwells on the questions of: How can social enterprises regain the embeddedness to the political, institutional environment and how can this process quest the dominant, institutional closure? To address these questions, the article introduces a synergy between new institutionalism and systems theory, both macro-sociological approaches that can compensate for each other’s deficiencies. In this context, the hybrid concept of institutional entrepreneurship describes the institutionalization of new organizational forms via the embeddedness of the institutional logics that underpin them. An in-depth qualitative research of the OTELO social enterprise and of its institutional framework of Mühlviertel was conducted. Empirical evidence shows that social entrepreneurship can regain the institutionally sustainability by becoming embedded to the fields of legitimacy, politics and discourse, and through this process dispute the broader institutional closeness.
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