The Social Enterprise Zoo

The Social Enterprise Zoo

A Guide for Perplexed Scholars, Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, Leaders, Investors, and Policymakers

Edited by Dennis R. Young, Elizabeth A.M. Searing and Cassady V. Brewer

The Social Enterprise Zoo employs the metaphor of the zoo to gain a more comprehensive understanding of social enterprise – especially the diversity of its forms; the various ways it is organized in different socio-political environments; how different forms of enterprise behave, interact, and thrive; and what lessons can be drawn for the future development and study of organizations that seek to balance social or environmental impact with economic success. Recommended for students, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and managers of social purpose organizations.

Chapter 11: Resiliency and stability of the zoo animals

Jung-In Soh, Elizabeth A.M. Searing and Dennis R. Young

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, non-profits


In this chapter, we apply resiliency theory to examine the stability, transformation or demise of animals in the social enterprise zoo, and their adaptability, resistance to, or inability to cope with environmental change. Specifically, we consider the reactions of nonprofit enterprises in the Atlanta housing subsector to the federal budget sequester of 2013. Analysis of these nonprofits reveals several factors affecting resiliency: diversification of income sources allows these enterprises to minimize risk; embeddedness in host communities and in service systems provide safety nets for these organizations; slack resources serve as insurance against disruptions; and leadership and governance can also serve as key protections against instability.

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