We Cannot Direct the Wind, but We Can Adjust the Sails: Prosocial Ventures' Responses to Potential Resource Threats

Alexandra Mittermaier*, Dean A. Shepherd, Holger Patzelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


One of entrepreneurs' key tasks is mobilizing resources from external resource holders. Although we know how entrepreneurial ventures gain initial access to resources, we do not yet fully understand how they maintain their resource mobilization, particularly in the face of potential threats. During our 11-month study of prosocial ventures that emerged to alleviate the suffering of refugees in Germany, four attacks on the European public occurred that were allegedly committed by refugees. These attacks disrupted the German welcoming culture for refugees, potentially threatening the legitimacy of the prosocial ventures' core activities. Thus, the attacks provide a starting point for examining how new prosocial ventures are able to maintain access to resources in the face of the potential withdrawal of resource holders. Theorizing from our data, we identify three distinct approaches to explain how prosocial ventures responded to the potential threat undermining the legitimacy of their activities to maintain access to resources. These approaches differ in their initial resource mobilization (i.e., based on the venture's goal for alleviating suffering), threat appraisals, and responses to maintain resource mobilization in the face of the potential delegitimization of their core activities. Our model provides novel insights into resource mobilization and prosocial venturing.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalOrganization Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1116-1141
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • access to resources
  • entrepreneurship
  • legitimacy
  • negative events
  • prosocial ventures
  • resource mobilization
  • suffering alleviation
  • threat


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