Chapter 2: A multi-stakeholder perspective on social business planning: opportunity discovery and exploitation in the case of Dynamo Camp
Despite indications that effective planning is conducive to success in hybrid, cross-industry contexts characterized by a general lack of consolidated track records and reference frameworks, evidence is still anecdotal on the specificities and challenges of social business planning. Our study aims at filling this gap in the literature and managerial practice by providing a stakeholder-based analysis of the relevance of planning in the shift from opportunity recognition to exploitation of a social entrepreneurial project. Building on empirical evidence that emerged from the analysis of planning efforts in the pre-launching stages of the Dynamo Camp – the first holiday camp in Italy specifically designed for children suffering from life-threatening and chronic illnesses, who are in remission or post-hospitalization – we elaborate on the main challenges and key characteristics of planning in the social sector. We contribute to existing research on social entrepreneurship by showing the peculiarities of social entrepreneurial processes that have an impact on planning, as well as the impact of social planning on the ability of the entrepreneurial team to manage the relations with the stakeholders involved. A stronger emphasis on intangibles, the risk of overcommitment to the social mission, the heterogeneity of the stakeholders involved, and the fragmentation of the markets for resources emerge as the most critical aspects to be managed through planning. Accordingly, planning emerges as a tool to reconcile confl icting objectives in the pursuit of the social mission, motivating personnel, partners and stakeholders around specific tasks and expected results, while reducing ambiguity by its support to procedure formalization.
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