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Journal cover: Social Enterprise Journal

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Online from: 2005

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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Communitarian governance in social enterprises: Case evidence from the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation and School Trends Ltd

Document Information:
Title:Communitarian governance in social enterprises: Case evidence from the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation and School Trends Ltd
Author(s):Rory Ridley-Duff, (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
Citation:Rory Ridley-Duff, (2010) "Communitarian governance in social enterprises: Case evidence from the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation and School Trends Ltd", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 6 Iss: 2, pp.125 - 145
Keywords:Co-operative organizations, Entrepreneurialism, Governance, Social economics
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17508611011069266 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The financial support of the Management Control Association (MCA) to undertake a field trip to the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation is gratefully acknowledged. The financial support of Sheffield Hallam University and School Trends Ltd to support the period of participant observation is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also to members of the MCA for the opportunity to present an early draft of this paper. Lastly, the author wishes to thank the reviewers at the Social Enterprise Journal for their thoughtful comments and feedback.

Purpose – Prevailing concepts of corporate governance that are based on external shareholder interests have been challenged by a number of authors over the last three decades. The purpose of this paper is to outline the core assumptions of communitarian philosophy and values, together with the way writers imagine these might be enacted in a social enterprise context. These assumptions are then explored using two case studies.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper was conducted using participatory action research which involves parties examining current actions together and seeking to improve on them. The value of this approach is based on the plausible, authentic and critical insights it generates into management practice.

Findings – Case evidence suggests that companies are able to adopt and operate effectively while deploying communitarian values and that these values lead to alternative business objectives expressed through new forms of corporate governance. Nevertheless, the adopting of common language does not necessarily mean that social enterprises share a common philosophy.

Originality/value – The key contribution of this paper is to evaluate the institutionalisation of governance and consider the relationship between the form and substance of practice. By considering the link between words and actions, the paper concludes that the adoption of a governance framework, or particular language, matters less than the capacity of company members to participate in the development of governance norms that enable them to act congruently with their own beliefs and values.

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