publication - Report

Organizational Mechanisms of Scaling Social Enterprises

Organizational Mechanisms of Scaling Social Enterprises

Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair

How to successfully scale.

In the social sector, the subject of scaling has recently emerged as a dominant discourse. The scholarly literature on this phenomenon is in an embryonic stage. In this paper, we provide a clear definition of scaling that makes it a subject for mechanism-based scholarly investigation. An analytical model of organizational scaling is developed that is grounded in a critical realist philosophy of science. Critical realism provides a sophisticated view of reality that enables explicit operationalization of the causal links between actors, mechanisms and outcomes. The analytical model thus provides guidance to and structure for the empirical investigation of an extraordinary organizational example of scaling. A number of propositions for scaling are developed and we reflect on the implications for practitioners and further scholarly research.