Scalability of a non-profit organization - the case of Restaurant Day: What are the factors that influence the scalability of a non-profit, voluntary organization?

Istvan Gergo Lang

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This research aims to illuminate the reasons behind the scalability of a non-profit, voluntary organization through studying the case of Restaurant Day. The case organization is a completely voluntarily run, project based food carnival that takes place four times a year in every three month, each of which takes one day only. On these days anyone can set up a restaurant anywhere they want. Restaurant Day, since its establishment in 2011 has gained over two million customers and tens of thousands of participants and volunteers worldwide. Scalability describes the ability of a system to handle growth without substantial effort. The subject has been undergoing an excessive study within the context of online businesses. Professionals have been striving to establish replicable architectures that leads to scaling companies. However, research on scalability within the non-profit, voluntary sector leaves space for further investigation. Therefore, reviewing this can create contribution to the field of scalability. Three main areas of theories were identified as helpful in setting up the exploratory lenses. Scalability, Organization type and Value Co-creation. These domains, with sub topics within support the understanding of the emerging discoveries. The data set consists of four semi-structured interviews, one with the founder of the Restaurant Day, one with the representative in Denmark and two expert panels. Moreover, observation notes (See Appendix 5) from two participations along with secondary data were collected. Qualitative data analysis methods were used to unfold the underlying causes in order to find the key indicators that drive scalability in RD. The open, flexible and decentralized organizational structure, the collaborative form of social value co-creation, and the continuous contribution of the many passionate actors were found as the main reasons of scalability in Restaurant Day. As supplementary success factors, a concise value proposition that is easy to comprehend and adopt to distinct environments, the standardization of a guideline that applies internationally and the spreadable effect of the common ownership approach were identified. The findings accomplish to provide answers for the research questions, thus explain the factors in request. Nonetheless, their generalizability could be extended with a longitudinal time horizon and cross-case comparisons

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages147