Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation, HKS; Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration, HBS
This paper examines the critical role of gender in the commercialization of social ventures. We argue that cultural beliefs about what is perceived to be appropriate work for each gender influence how founders of social ventures incorporate commercial activity into their ventures. Specifically, we argue and show that although cultural beliefs that disassociate women from commercial activity may result in female social venture founders being less likely to use commercial activity than their male counterparts, these effects are moderated by cultural beliefs about gender and commercial activity within founders’ local communities. The presence of female business owners in the same community mitigates the role of founders’ gender on the use of commercial activity. We examine these issues through a novel sample of 584 social ventures in the United States. We constructively replicate and extend these findings with a supplemental analysis of a second sample, the full population of new nonprofit organizations founded during a two-year period in the United States (n = 31,160). By highlighting how gendered aspects of both the social and commercial sectors interact to shape the use of commercial activity by social venture founders, our findings contribute to research on hybrid organizations in the social sector, communities as a context for the enactment of gender, and the enactment of gender in entrepreneurship.
Dimitriadis, Stefan, Matthew Lee, Lakshmi Ramarajan, and Julie Battilana. "Blurring the Boundaries: The Interplay of Gender and Local Communities in the Commercialization of Social Ventures." Organization Science (August 2017).