Bricolage Strategies, Stakeholder Engagement, and the Geographic Expansion of Social Enterprises

Ko, Wai Wai (Joyce) and Liu, Gordon (2024). Bricolage Strategies, Stakeholder Engagement, and the Geographic Expansion of Social Enterprises. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (in press).

Abstract

Social enterprises (SEs), hybrid entities balancing revenue generation and social or environmental goals, often employ bricolage due to resource constraints. Interviews with 37 SE managers unveiled two pivotal bricolage strategies – utilising SE status-related marketing resources and leveraging available technological resources – as well as how their interplay influences geographical expansion and the contingent roles of stakeholder participation in facilitating their impact. Quantitative studies of 778 UK SEs confirm that the predominant facilitator of geographic expansion is the utilisation of status-related marketing resources, surpassing the impact of leveraging available technological resources. SEs’ efforts to utilise SE status-related marketing resources should be harmonised with community participation, whereas SEs aiming to leverage available technological resources should align their efforts with employee participation. We also underscore the substitution dynamic between these two bricolage strategies. However, SEs prioritising employee participation are better positioned to mitigate the challenges arising from this substitution than those emphasising community participation.

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