Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Quest for the Grail: Scaling Social Impact
by Miller, Eric W., D.Mgt., University of Maryland University College, 2017, 230; 10809516
Abstract (Summary)

The quest for the grail seeks to understand why and how some social enterprises successfully scale social impact and yet others fail. In addressing societal problems, social enterprises first pilot solutions in a local context, but when attempting to spread social impact to better meet society’s needs, face myriad challenges arising from the conditions of environmental forces, organizational capabilities, and geographic contexts. A theory of change approach to scaling social impact offers a way to understand these challenges, and examine the dynamic interplay between conditions that affect attempts to scale. A systematic review of scaling literature, and a qualitative comparative analysis of forty–six scaling case studies assimilates existing knowledge of how social enterprises have achieved scale in the field of practice to determine the organizational conditions necessary and sufficient to achieve scale. This evidence–based approach to identifying what works reveals that leadership and access to capital are mostly necessary to scale but not sufficient; social enterprises must also leverage one of several causal combinations – pathways in which the dynamic interplay of organizational conditions can lead to scale. Informed by these results, social entrepreneurs and social enterprises may better plan and strategize for scale, improve communication to funders and stakeholders, and align and invest in organizational capabilities to maximize scale potential.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Milter, Richard
Commitee: Gelatt, James
School: University of Maryland University College
Department: Doctor of Management Program
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Social research, Management
Keywords: Qualitative comparative analysis, Scaling social impact, Social enterprise, Social entrepreneur, Social value, Theory of change
Publication Number: 10809516
ISBN: 978-0-438-02448-9
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