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Social enterprise emergence from social movement activism: the Fairphone case

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Management Studies
Issue number5
Number of pages32
Pages (from-to)846-877
Publication statusPublished
Early online date21/03/16
Original languageEnglish


Effectuation theory invests agency—intention and purposeful enactment—for a new venture
creation in the entrepreneurial actor(s). Based on the results of a 15-month in-depth
longitudinal case study of Amsterdam-based social enterprise Fairphone, we argue that
effectual entrepreneurial agency is co-constituted by distributed agency, the proactive conferral
of material resources and legitimacy to an eventual entrepreneur by heterogeneous actors
external to a new venture. In the context of social movement activism, we show how an
effectual network pre-committed resources to an inchoate social enterprise to produce a
material artefact because it symbolised moral values of network members. We develop a model
of social enterprise emergence based on these findings. We theorise the role of material
artefacts in effectuation theory and suggest that, in the case, the artefact served as a boundary
object, present in multiple social words and triggering commitment from actors not governed
by hierarchical arrangements.