Business as Mission Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Management (DMgt)

First Advisor

W. Christopher Cason, DM

Second Advisor

J. Heather Welzant, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

K. Candis Best


Faith-based nonprofit organizations face myriad challenges in securing a sufficient donation base within a restricted pool of donors. This funding challenge often limits their ability to conduct their mission. To offset this challenge and model self-sufficiency, many faith-based organizations are looking to evolve into hybrid platforms that operate as faith-based social entrepreneurial ventures and manage to a triple bottom line of social good, financial impact, and spiritual mission. Yet even with the best of intentions, successfully merging a for-profit business model into a preexisting nonprofit organization often fails, even before the faith-factor is in play. This study of social entrepreneurship in faith-based nonprofits is conducted to identify how and why successful integration of the hybrid business model for sustainable social impact occurs. Using a realist synthesis approach, a systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify the mechanisms that correlated to a positive integration of the disparate business models and the outcome of a sustainable organizational structure. Five organizational characteristics and five management practices were identified as key underlying mechanisms that led to the creation of a successful merged hybrid organization. The five characteristics were 1) Institutional Logic, 2) Motivations and Values, 3) Resources, 4) Decision-Making, and 5) Culture. The five practices were 1) Focus on Launch, 2) Cultivation of Staff and Board, 3) Timing of Culture Integration, 4) Addressing Unstable Structures, and 5) View on Generating Profit. These results, along with their implications for managers are presented and discussed within the context of the Business Model Canvas to offer a usable guide for practitioners seeking to successfully move their organizations from a traditional faith-based nonprofit to a hybrid faith-based social entrepreneurial venture.