Social business dilemmas in Brazil: Rede Asta case

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Social businesses seek financial, social and even environmental results. Academic knowledge on how such organizations operate, however, has emerged more recently. This article sought to investigate qualitatively the main tensions and dilemmas occurring throughout the history of Rede Asta, a pioneer social business in direct catalog sales of artisanal products in Brazil. Results indicate the Rede Asta managers have experienced tensions and dilemmas in three of the four categories identified by Smith, Gonin, and Besharov (2013): social and financial performance, organizational aspects and learning. One of the dilemmas involves organizational aspects and learning, since Asta achieves feasibility with two organizations: a nonprofit association and a for-profit corporation. On perceptions of belonging, stakeholders declared they felt they were a part of the organization's social and environmental goals; some even as activists.

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