Is Social Entrepreneurship the Vaccine against Exogenous Shocks for Non-Profit Organisations?
Is Social Entrepreneurship the Vaccine against Exogenous Shocks for Non-Profit Organisations?ALBERTO NUCCIARELLI - ERICA SANTINI
Objectives. Social entrepreneurship has emerged as an important research topic in the recent literature of entrepreneurship (Zahra et al., 2008; Defourny and Nyssens, 2010; Desa, 2012). However, there are many differences in how ocial entrepreneurship is conceptualized. Some scholars have identified ocial entrepreneurship as ‘a process involving the innovative use and combination of resources to pursue opportunities to catalyze social change and/or address social needs.’ (Mair and Marti, 2006: 37). Part of this literature underlines indeed that social entrepreneurship surface from the opportunities open up by social changes (e.g., unmet needs, demand or market failure) (Austin et al., 2006), “ Some others argue that social entrepreneurship does not refer to new market mechanisms, but it relates to effective and sustainable solutions resulting from the exploitation of different combination of institutional means (Santos, 2012; McMullen and Bergman, 2017). In such debate, commercial and social entrepreneurship is a continuum and organizations fluctuate from social initiatives performing in profit-seeking businesses to entrepreneurial behaviour undertaken by non-profit organizations (Mair and Martì, 2006). These insights do not suggest a dichotomous distinction between social and commercial entrepreneurship but point to hybrid organizations as dominant forms of this realm (Billis, 2010; Shepherd, Williams, and Zhao, 2019). Moreover, organizations adopting a social entrepreneurship approach have not a static nature and depending on external and internal shocks, their social entrepreneurship attitude vary. Today, global tendencies reinforced by Covid-19 pandemic seem to lead to an increase of such hybrid organizational forms, emerging from innovative business models addressing the contemporary social emergencies. Museums have faced the emergency in an unordered fashion as their ability to deal with exogenous shocks varies much across institutions. It is now clear that from March on, directors have been wondering whether in a Covid-19 setting it is still possible enhancing museums’ resources and competences and producing meaningful value for the society. In this scenario, this explorative study aims to answer the question: “do the choices made by museums in response to Covid-19 emergency lead to such consequences that enable museums’ business model change from a non-profit to a social enterprise?” To answer this question, this research looks into the choices made by museum institutions during, and right after, the Covid-19 lockdown and it analyzes their main consequences on value creation, delivery and capture. Despite museums are mainly defined as “a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society”, some scholars have recently conceptualized museums as social enterprises rather than non-profit organizations (Eid, 2019; Janes, 2013; Weil, 2012, 2014). They match social and environmental goals to economic objectives driven by the market-based methods of for-profit firms. Moreover, – they argue – the lack of funding (e.g. scarce resources like grants, philanthropic contributions, and donations) as well as changes in the society (i.e. lack of voluntarism) have transformed the nature of museums and made the traditional non-profit framework unsustainable. Covid-19 emergency provides a testbed to understand whether there exist the conditions for museums to substantially innovate their logic and adopt a social entrepreneurship approach.#COVID19 #culture #Digitalization #Museum #non-profit #Social entrepreneurship