Turning rebellion into money? Social entrepreneurship as the strategic performance of systems change

Simon Teasdale*, Michael J. Roy, Alex Nicholls, Chantal Hervieux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
235 Downloads (Pure)


Research Summary: Critical scholars recognize a disjuncture between the problems identified by social entrepreneurs and the solutions they propose. Existing theory treats this as a problem to be rectified at the organizational level. In this essay, we widen attention to the macro-oriented systems change strategies of social entrepreneurs. We develop a dynamic typology showing how strategies are reassembled over time to stimulate or deflect desire for systems change. Deriving inspiration from Goffman, we theorize the ways that different types of systems change actor perform systems change via interaction with their environments. Drawing on illustrative cases on the boundaries of social entrepreneurship, we show how the collective action frameworks developed by systems change actors can be adapted and repurposed by their (systems) audiences: effectively turning rebellion into money.

Managerial Summary: Social entrepreneurs often call for systems change to tackle wicked problems such as poverty or climate change. However, the strategies they propose for tackling these problems, such as lending money to poor people are considerably less radical. In this essay, we identify three types of systems change actor distinguished by the degree of systems change they call for. We trace their ideas over time to illustrate how strategies are mediated, and subsequently repurposed through interaction with the systems they seek to change. In conclusion, we call upon researchers and social entrepreneurs to widen their perspectives to incorporate more radical ideas and potentials for systems change, and for greater attention to be devoted to scrutinizing and protecting the integrity of systems change strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalStrategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Issue number1
Early online date5 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2023


  • assemblage
  • collective action framework
  • framing
  • social entrepreneur
  • systems change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Turning rebellion into money? Social entrepreneurship as the strategic performance of systems change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this