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Sustainability of nonprofit organizations: An empirical investigation


  • Weerawardena, Jay
  • McDonald, Robert E.
  • Mort, Gillian Sullivan


Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) contribute to society through their social value creation. They operate in an increasingly turbulent context where building sustainable organizations has emerged as a critical need. Past authors have discussed this important issue in a fragmented manner. Using multiple case studies of socially entrepreneurial NPOs, this paper examines how the need for building a sustainable organization has impacted on the strategy focus of the nonprofit organization. The findings suggest that in response to an increased competitive environment, NPOs have been forced to adopt an organizational sustainability focus in both strategic and operational levels of management. The study makes a strong contribution to current debate in social entrepreneurship and to a broader agenda concerned with developing sustainable organizations. Whilst the findings have important implications for theory and current practice, the paper concludes with suggestions for future research at the interstices of these areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Weerawardena, Jay & McDonald, Robert E. & Mort, Gillian Sullivan, 2010. "Sustainability of nonprofit organizations: An empirical investigation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 346-356, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:45:y:2010:i:4:p:346-356

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sharir, Moshe & Lerner, Miri, 2006. "Gauging the success of social ventures initiated by individual social entrepreneurs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 6-20, February.
    2. repec:sae:ecolab:v:16:y:2006:i:2:p:1-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Zolkiewski, Judy, 2004. "Marketization and the delivery of UK health services: Three case studies," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1012-1020, September.
    4. Nikolay Nenovsky & S. Statev, 2006. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00260898, HAL.
    5. Peredo, Ana María & McLean, Murdith, 2006. "Social entrepreneurship: A critical review of the concept," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 56-65, February.
    6. Hirth, Richard A., 1999. "Consumer information and competition between nonprofit and for-profit nursing homes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 219-240, April.
    7. Donald F. Kettl, 1997. "The global revolution in public management: Driving themes, missing links," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 446-462.
    8. Weerawardena, Jay & Mort, Gillian Sullivan, 2006. "Investigating social entrepreneurship: A multidimensional model," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 21-35, February.
    9. Mair, Johanna & Martí, Ignasi, 2006. "Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 36-44, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. G. Lumpkin & Todd Moss & David Gras & Shoko Kato & Alejandro Amezcua, 2013. "Entrepreneurial processes in social contexts: how are they different, if at all?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 761-783, April.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:294-:d:128361 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gabriela Vaceková & Zuzana Prouzová, 2014. "Non-profit Commercial Revenues. Evidence from the Czech Republic," Working Papers 16, Masaryk University, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Department of Public Economics, revised Dec 2014.
    4. Bruce Tonn & Dorian Stiefel, 2012. "The Race for Evolutionary Success," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(8), pages 1-19, August.
    5. Franck Bailly & Karine Chapelle, 2013. "The Training of Jobseekers by Non-profit Organizations: An Analysis Based on Data from the Upper Normandy Region of France," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 645-682, November.
    6. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1315-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eur:ejesjr:198 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jindřich Špička & Petr Boukal & Hana Vávrová, 2016. "Discussion about Evaluation of Private Non-profit Success," Ekonomika a Management, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(2).
    9. Edward N. Gamble & Haley A. Beer, 2017. "Spiritually Informed Not-for-profit Performance Measurement," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 451-468, March.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:2103-:d:119203 is not listed on IDEAS


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