Working paper of UNIBO presented at the HEC Paris Society and Organization 7th Research Day


While adequate housing is regarded as part of human rights, local communities are increasingly lagging behind in ensuring it for everyone. Migration, as linked to wars, political unrest, climate change, together with urbanization, financial and health crises increase the dimension and impact of the lack of adequate housing. We approach this issue as a grand challenge, which can be addressed by setting up partnerships and collaborations among different actors. To date, the literature about impact entrepreneurship and about cross-sectoral networks has studied the formation and functioning of these networks. However, less is known about the processes and conditions under which networks participated and created by social entrepreneurs can instil institutional change. We thus study the unique case of a bottom-up initiative in the domain of homelessness, operated by an Italian social enterprise, which is acquired and transformed into a leading program run by the local municipality. We identify the sense-making of the grand challenge by different actors, how they practically confront the challenge, and how they hybridize practices by collaboratively innovating the approach to housing.