The One and the Many Sides of Social Business: A Critical Reflection

  • Karin Kreutzer
  • Stefanie Mauksch


The concept of social business has inspired many people world-wide. However, also critical voices have been raised pointing to potential shortcomings of social business models. Especially because the model addresses issues highly relevant to society, it is inevitable to scrutinize its positive effects, but also the challenges involved. In this chapter, we present the four main strengths of social business in fostering positive social change, empowering marginalized groups, producing effective solutions, and defining a new role for business. We then point to four limitations and critically discuss them. Thereby, we elaborate on a set of questions regarding the reach, effects, and sustainability of social business models as well as the degree of participation they achieve. Lastly, we provide an overview of critical management challenges social businesses are facing. We conclude that if social business policies and founders take account of and engage with these challenges, the concept bears considerable potential.


Nonprofit Organization Asperger Syndrome Initial Public Offering Social Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneur 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Strategy, Organization & LeadershipEBS Business SchoolWiesbadenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of AnthropologyLeipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany

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