What is it about?

Social innovation research is increasingly devoted to distinguishing features of mission-driven and profit-driven organisations. In fact, we can learn more about mission-driven organisations by looking through the lens of social enterprise. This article contributes to the ongoing debate on mission-driven organisations by analysing how new forms of business models combining mission-driven and profit-driven logic and features are designed and shape organisational behaviour in the field of social innovation. Results illustrate that while mission-driven organisations are often prompted to use models, tools and logic coming from the for-profit sector, more emphasis should be placed on output-oriented models and tools that support the specificities of their business models.

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Why is it important?

The innovation demand placed on both profit-driven and mission-driven organisations is steadily rising in the face of changing technological and social paradigms, set against a generalised atmosphere of fiscal austerity. Hence, mission-driven organisations have undergone a series of transformations to find new revenue streams and better serve their beneficiaries. These transformations are apparent in social innovation, characterized by its search for new ways of financing solutions to cope with societal challenges. As mission-driven organisations adopt profit-driven strategies and for-profit organisations adopt mission-driven strategies, they each take on new and sometimes borrowed characteristics, evolving into hybrid organisations.


It was a great pleasure to write the article with my colleagues from Milan University, with whom I have a long-standing inspiring collaboration. I hope the article helps the reader to better understand the distinguishing features of mission- and profit-driven organisations.

Dr Judith Terstriep
Westphalian University Gelsenkirchen, Institute for Work and Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Business models & social innovation: mission-driven versus profit-driven organisations, International Review of Applied Economics, June 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/02692171.2020.1781066.
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