Scaling Up Social Enterprise: Predicament or Prospect in a Comparative Perspective

Heidi Dahles*, Michiel Verver, Sothy Khieng, Ireen Manders, Nite Schellens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article focuses on the intricate nature of scaling practices in social enterprise organizations (SEOs). The research is based on case study methodology in two different institutional environments, the Netherlands and Cambodia. Comparing and contrasting these cases, the article raises questions about ways in which the institutional environments affect scaling practices. Whilst Dutch and Cambodian SEOs upscale to address market deficiencies in dissimilar institutional environments, the dominant strategy in both cases is to scale for depth impact. Under neoliberal market logic, both institutional environments converge in creating obstacles for SEOs to fully develop their entrepreneurial potential and contribute to social innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-342
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social Entrepreneurship
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Scaling up social enterprise
  • scaling strategies
  • scaling social impact
  • upscaling–deepscaling
  • institutional environment


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