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From Social Movement to Moral MarketHow the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market$
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Paul-Brian McInerney

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785129

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785129.001.0001

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Walking the Values Tightrope

Walking the Values Tightrope

The Moral Ambivalence of Social Enterprise

(p.107) 4 Walking the Values Tightrope
From Social Movement to Moral Market

Paul-Brian McInerney

Stanford University Press

This chapter explains how NPower worked to institutionalize their entrepreneurial approach to nonprofit technology by expanding and replicating their model nationally. This chapter illustrates how organizations translate existing models to local environments while maintaining enough similarity to the original as to be recognizable as such. Here, I present data from a longitudinal organizational ethnography at the NPower office in New York, the first and arguably most successful affiliate of the NPower national expansion. This chapter explains moral ambivalence, the tension created by the entrepreneurial strategy of combining social and economic values. Moral ambivalence forces hybrid organizations, like social enterprises, to appeal to multiple stakeholders simultaneously expanding moral legitimacy. However, such a strategy also makes the organization vulnerable to moral legitimacy challenges from other actors, in this case members of the Circuit Rider movement.

Keywords:   Social Enterprise, Hybrid Organizations, Moral Ambivalence, Legitimacy, Markets, Nonprofit Organizations, Institutions

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