The purpose of this paper is to examine how and to what extent social enterprise can contribute to improving women's life in Hungary.Design/methodology/approachThe case study was based on a four-month organizational ethnographic study of a café. Participant and non-participant observations were supplemented with interviews with the founder, the manager, visitors and informal conversations with the staff and visitors. Social media communication was also reviewed.FindingsThe empirical results from the organizational ethnography allowed us to gain insights into the impact of the investigated organization on its target group, young mothers, in a post-socialist gender context. The dominant post-socialist gender regime has remained almost entirely untouched and the outcome of the operation of the social enterprise only helped women to accommodate their everyday life to their disadvantaged social situation.Originality/valueWhile previous studies have uncovered the dualistic nature of social enterprises, this analysis shows that an award-winning and popular social enterprise in Hungary could nevertheless only minimally influence the social situation of women. In spite of the good intention of the owner, the all-encompassing prescribed gender roles are hardly questioned, and consequently, women's situation hardly ameliorates.
Journal of Organizational Ethnography – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 29, 2021
Keywords: Social enterprise; Gender; Postsocialism; Organizational ethnography