SCENSUS (ERC project)

How can communities reshape society beyond markets and states? What are the mechanisms through which community enterprises can transform our economy to tackle urgent sustainability challenges such as climate change? These questions lie at the heart of the SCENSUS project. By creating a new interdisciplinary theory of the dynamics of community enterprises within the wider political economy, SCENSUS strives to advance the research frontier on collective action and organization studies. The project aspires to change the current thinking about the role of markets and states as an inescapable dichotomy that dominates the way modern societies build institutions and organizations. The project also contributes to emerging perspectives on a post-growth world and alternative(s to) capitalism.

The primary research question of the project is: What are the mechanisms through which community enterprises scale their societal impact to unlock their full potential in sustainability transformations?

This primary question is broken down into different research sub-questions:

  • What explains the differences in the types and success of scaling strategies for different community enterprises?
  • How do community enterprises collectively manage competing organizational goals and institutional logics while scaling?
  • What are the roles of organizational legitimacy and community entrepreneurs’ characteristics in mobilizing resources for scaling community enterprises?
  • What are the roles of social networks in community enterprises’ scaling dynamics?

This programme is led by Dr. Thomas Bauwens and hosted by the Business-Society Management Department at the Rotterdam School of Management. The programme is funded for five years (2023-2028) through a 1.5 million euro ‘Starting Grant’ awarded by the European Research Council (Grant agreement No. 101077489).

More information

For in-depth information on the background of the SCENSUS programme, research methods and publications, see the ERIM website.