Facing Newness and Smallness: A Multiple Case Study of Nonprofits Creating Schools


  • Ebba Henrekson Marie Cederschiöld University
  • Fredrik O. Andersson Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)




Nonprofit Schools, Education Entrepreneurship, Liability of Newness, Liability of Smallness, Sweden


This paper utilizes the literature on liability of newness and smallness to examine new nonprofit school venture creation and explore what challenges new school ventures face. We ask the following research questions: What challenges and obstacles do new nonprofit school ventures face? How do new nonprofit school ventures manage to maneuver, mitigate, or overcome these challenges and obstacles? To answer these questions, we conducted a comparative case study of three nonprofit organizations operating schools in Sweden. Our material consisted of semi-structured interviews and archival documents. The article illuminates two salient challenges for new school ventures: the need for legitimacy from a diverse set of stakeholders and the marshalling of sufficient resources. To cope with these challenges, the organizations combined an outward conformist strategy with an inward resource replacement strategy. Moreover, even though all ventures experienced obstacles, the character and magnitude of these obstacles differed depending on their mode of emergence.

Author Biographies

  • Ebba Henrekson, Marie Cederschiöld University

    Ebba Henrekson is a PhD Candidate at the Center for Civil Society Research at Marie Cederschiöld University and associated to the Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics. Her research concerns the privatization of the Swedish school system and the organizational development of the school sector since the early 1990s with a specific focus on nonprofit organizations.

  • Fredrik O. Andersson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

    Fredrik O. Andersson is Associate Professor in the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, and an affiliated faculty member with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. His research sits at the intersection of entrepreneurship and nonprofit organization studies. His main scholarly interests include new nonprofit emergence, nonprofit organizational evolution, and nonprofit governance.






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