Online from: 1995
Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation
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|Title:||Social enterprise as a socially rational business|
|Author(s):||Rory Ridley-Duff, (Faculty of Organisation and Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)|
|Citation:||Rory Ridley-Duff, (2008) "Social enterprise as a socially rational business", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol. 14 Iss: 5, pp.291 - 312|
|Keywords:||Co-operative organizations, Governance, Social capital|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/13552550810897669 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The author thanks Professor John Cullen and Professor Phil Johnson for support and guidance. He is grateful to participants at the 3rd Social Enterprise Research Conference, London Southbank University, for a lively debate during the early development of this paper. The author would also like to thank both Pam Seanor and Mike Bull for their good company, interesting conversations and direct support for this work. Lastly, the author would like to thank all the reviewers for their careful, painstaking and helpful comments.|
Purpose – This paper seeks to examine the discourses that influence policy and practice in social enterprises. In institutional circles, arguments are shaped by the desire to protect assets for the community, while entrepreneurial discourses favour a mixture of investment sources, surplus sharing and inclusive systems of governance. A critique is outlined that challenges policy-makers and academics to move beyond the heated debate on “business-like” activity through a deeper understanding of the social relations entered into (and created by) different social entrepreneurial activities.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is wholly theoretical. First, contradictions are exposed through a review of practitioner and scholarly literature. Thereafter, empirically grounded studies are used to develop a theoretical model that accommodates and accounts for diverse practices.
Findings – A broader perspective, that views human behaviour as a product of, and support system for, our socio-sexual choices, is deployed to extend understanding of social capital. By integrating this into governance theory, workplaces come to be seen as complex centres of community-building, replete with economic and social goals. The concept of “social rationality” is elaborated as an alternative way to understand the legitimacy of social entrepreneurial activity and management practice.
Originality/value – The paper concludes by developing a framework and typology that theorises social enterprise as a heterogeneous business movement. Each form of social enterprise integrates
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