In Research


Year: 2021
Published in: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Cited as: Monica Vasquez-Delsolar, Amparo Merino,
Social enterprises towards a sustainable business system: A model of institutional dynamics,
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions,
2021,,ISSN 2210-4224,


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Despite the growing interest of sustainability transition studies on the role of business actors in shaping transitions, the institutionalized logic of the capitalist enterprise underlying such agency has been overlooked. However, such logic might be understood as a dominant regime that leads to unsustainable systems.

We intend to contribute to transitions research by focusing on the agency of social enterprises as non-dominant actors searching for challenging and transforming the institutionalized logics in the business system. Therefore, we disentangle the institutional mechanisms driven by social enterprises by proposing a theoretical model built upon a literature review of sustainability transitions from institutional perspectives, offering a set of explanatory propositions to allow empirical examination. Those mechanisms and propositions operate at three levels: inside the individual, inside the niche, and at the interplay between the niche and the business regime. Finally, we include a real-world example of a social enterprise to illustrate the model.


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