Social entrepreneurs can be powerful change agents for alleviating the suffering of the disadvantaged. However, their prosocial motivation and behavior frequently result in detrimental impacts on those they intend to support, especially when their operations span different socio-spatial contexts. We conducted a multiple comparative case study among 12 transnational social entrepreneurs of foreign, domestic non-indigenous, and local indigenous origin, who are seeking to improve the livelihoods of indigenous communities in rural Ecuador. We introduce the concept of prosocial power to social entrepreneurship research and demonstrate how it can work as a double-edged sword in the hands of transnationally embedded social entrepreneurs who operate in vulnerable places. Context-bound variations in social distance, bi-directional learning, reflexive impact measurement, and socio-spatial dominance were identified as being decisive for prosocial power to lead to positive or negative impacts on disadvantaged others.
- prosocial organizing
- prosocial power
- social entrepreneurship
- transnational entrepreneurship
- indigenous communities