Normative discourses within the social entrepreneurship (SE) field propose a linear relationship of causality between scaling and system change. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence substantiating this assumption. This research paper unravels in what ways scaling social entrepreneurial initiatives lead to system change. The case study approach provides an intra-organizational perspective on the tensions arising from this pursuit. The qualitative analysis is based on: a literature review on social entrepreneurship, scaling and system change; gray material, observation and semi-structured interviews. Findings demonstrate that scaling is not a linear process, it involves adaptation and resilience. Furthermore, market encroachment pressures organizations towards blended goals as a mean for survival and legitimacy, generating tensions in the logic of impact generation.

Additional Metadata
Keywords social entrepreneurship, market-encroachment, scaling, system change
Thesis Advisor Gómez, Georgina M.
Persistent URL
Series Social Policy for Development (SPD)
Lessa Bastos, Bruna. (2019, December 20). Social entrepreneurship and development: The arduous pursuit of scale. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from