A Contingent Model for Scaling Social Enterprises: A Research Agenda

Research Cluster

Speaker:Sourav Mukherji, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Date: Thursday 17 May 2012
Time: 4.00 - 5.30 pm
Location: Streatham Court, Lecture Theatre B

Further details

Despite sustained economic growth for over a decade, India in 2012 remains home to more than half a billion poor people. Growing inequity is already showing signs of disrupting India’s economic progress. Within a context of failed government programmes, a disengaged corporate sector and inconsistent impact from not-for-profits, a new breed of entrepreneurs hold the promise of poverty alleviation by creating business models that are inclusive in nature, addressing life and livelihood needs of millions of poor Indians in a financially sustainable manner. Three such cases – two entrepreneurial ventures and an initiative by India’s largest corporation are discussed to explain the systemic nature of change that they intend to bring about. All such ventures, despite their promises, face significant challenges of scaling, especially that of mission dilution, as was recently witnessed in India’s microfinance sector. How can one scale social enterprises and inclusive initiatives so that they can create positive impact? While extant literature suggest different modes (Dees et al, 2004) and drivers (Bloom & Chatterji, 2009) of scaling, our intended research seeks to understand the contingent factors such as product market characteristics that make such modes and drivers effective. If social enterprises are different from commercial enterprises because of their welfare oriented ideologies, scaling models of social enterprises need to explicitly incorporate feasibility of scaling ideologies along with suitable structures, processes and control.