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Nascent Social Ventures and Their Quest for Legitimacy: An Exploratory Study of Organizational Emergence

Proceeding: 7th International Conference Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (IMES 2019) (IMES)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 604-614

Keywords : Social entrepreneurship; legitimacy; organizational emergence; social ventures;

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This study examines why some social ventures become organizations and others donot by examining the relationship between the conforming and strategic processes to starta social venture and venture launch. Design/methodology/approach: This is a longitudinal study of 48 nascent social ventures thatparticipated in entrepreneurship competitions in the United States from 2005 to 2009. Based ona legitimacy perspective, the study assess the factors that predict organizational emergence byconducting a content analysis of social venture business plans, a follow-up survey, and thenhierarchical logistic regression to examine the hypothesized effects. Findings: The exploratory findings suggest that elements of both conforming and strategiclegitimacy individually predict organizational emergence. Particularly lead entrepreneur,organization team, and impression management behaviors are important. While prior researchon nascent commercial ventures finds strategic legitimacy important and a diminished role ofconforming legitimacy, this study suggests that conforming legitimacy at the earliest stagesincreases the likelihood of social venture launch, which might be due to the more complex andunknown institutional environment of social ventures. Nascent social ventures might rely moreon the lead entrepreneur and organizational team to successfully emerge. Research/practical implications: The findings suggest initial evidence into the important roleof conforming legitimacy and impression management for the organizational emergence ofnascent social ventures. It suggests that the lead entrepreneur and organization experience aswell as understanding how to manage impressions are important skills for nascent social ventureorganizational emergence. Future studies might analyze the role of conforming and strategiclegitimacy of ventures and their institutional context and their role in organization emergence. Originality/value: This study contributes to scholarship on social entrepreneurship byproviding one of the few longitudinal empirical studies of nascent social ventures, whileproviding insight into the role of process dimensions on organizational emergence in socialventures.

Last modified: 2020-06-06 15:36:20