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Social enterprises in electronic markets: web localization or standardization

Mamoun Benmamoun (), Hadi Alhor (), Christine Ascencio () and Woojong Sim ()
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Mamoun Benmamoun: Saint Louis University
Hadi Alhor: Saint Louis University
Christine Ascencio: University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Woojong Sim: Saint Louis University

Electronic Markets, 2021, vol. 31, issue 1, No 15, 215-231

Abstract: Abstract The question of how social enterprises (SEs)—organizations that work to solve social issues through innovative ideas and strategies—utilize the web to internationalize has received little attention in electronic business literature. We address this issue by examining whether SEs pursue a web globalization strategy that is standardized across national markets or localized and culturally customized to individual locales. Accepted knowledge about e-commerce corporations predicts that these firms would be better off with web localization. However, an investigation using content analysis and two case studies complemented with face-to-face and digital interviews reveals that SEs differ inherently from for-profit businesses in web globalization. Specifically, this paper shows that SEs adopt a web strategy high on standardization to mobilize, educate, advocate, and recruit would-be donors, influencers, and volunteers. Such a strategy allows SEs to build legitimacy and reinforce their global brand. Our empirical findings show the uniqueness of SEs’ digital context from profit-oriented e-commerce corporations and the need for a suitable theoretical framework.

Keywords: Social enterprises; E-commerce; Internationalization; Web globalization; Localization; Standardization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L31 L81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s12525-020-00430-7

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