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International Expansion of Social Enterprises as a Catalyst for Scaling up Social Impact across Borders

Department of Business Organization and Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zaragoza, Paseo de la Gran Vía 2, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain
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Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3262; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083262
Received: 1 April 2020 / Revised: 13 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 17 April 2020
Scaling social impact and solutions beyond the local context is argued to embody a key mechanism for social enterprises (SEs) to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and to generate welfare-enhancing systemic change. In light of this, this article explores the potential of SE international expansion as a catalyst for scaling social impact across borders. From our reading of the literature, we discern three major typologies of cross-border scaling: Control-based, altruism-based, and hybrid. Drawing on a multiple-case study of nine international SEs, we examine why and how SEs deploy these scaling strategies on an international scale; the challenges to maximize social impact across borders associated with each of the scaling strategies, and the resources and actions that SEs can mobilize to manage such challenges associated with international expansion. Contrary to conventional wisdom and mainstream theory depicting SEs as small-sized organizations that suffer from different limitations to expand beyond their traditional national boundaries, our findings illustrate how these organizations can successfully operate on an international scale and simultaneously generate financial, social, and environmental value. View Full-Text
Keywords: cooperatives; international expansion; organizational growth; scaling; social economy; social enterprise; social entrepreneurship; social impact; sustainable development cooperatives; international expansion; organizational growth; scaling; social economy; social enterprise; social entrepreneurship; social impact; sustainable development
MDPI and ACS Style

Bretos, I.; Díaz-Foncea, M.; Marcuello, C. International Expansion of Social Enterprises as a Catalyst for Scaling up Social Impact across Borders. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3262. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083262

AMA Style

Bretos I, Díaz-Foncea M, Marcuello C. International Expansion of Social Enterprises as a Catalyst for Scaling up Social Impact across Borders. Sustainability. 2020; 12(8):3262. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083262

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bretos, Ignacio, Millán Díaz-Foncea, and Carmen Marcuello. 2020. "International Expansion of Social Enterprises as a Catalyst for Scaling up Social Impact across Borders" Sustainability 12, no. 8: 3262. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083262

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