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The roles of social enterprises in a Swedish labour market integration programme – opportunities and challenges for social innovation

The roles of social enterprises in a Swedish labour market integration programme – opportunities... The purpose of this paper is to explore the roles of work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in the Swedish establishment programme for newly arrived refugees, and how its set-up affects WISEs preconditions for social innovation.Design/methodology/approachThe paper builds on a longitudinal and qualitative action research study of a WISE and its work in organising a course for labour market integration, in the context of the Swedish establishment programme. The authors were actively involved in the study as embedded researchers.FindingsThe exploration identifies a number of roles that WISEs take on in the establishment programme. It illustrates how WISEs hybrid character places participants at the centre of the innovation process, where their opinions and knowledge are considered crucial, and how this positively affects their ability to gain skills and confidence. However, the study also makes visible how issues of coordination between stakeholders in the programme lead to mismatches between course content and participant profiles, colliding activities and sporadic participation. In short, the bureaucracy embedded in labour market integration systems erodes the preconditions of WISEs to foster social innovation.Originality/valueThe embeddedness of the authors provides in-depth knowledge regarding how complex state systems affect WISEs in practice. Importantly, it also gives insights into the experiences of refugees, a group that is often mentioned in the literature on WISEs, although mainly in passing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Enterprise Journal Emerald Publishing

The roles of social enterprises in a Swedish labour market integration programme – opportunities and challenges for social innovation

Social Enterprise Journal , Volume 17 (2): 17 – Aug 4, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1750-8614
DOI
10.1108/sej-12-2019-0092
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the roles of work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in the Swedish establishment programme for newly arrived refugees, and how its set-up affects WISEs preconditions for social innovation.Design/methodology/approachThe paper builds on a longitudinal and qualitative action research study of a WISE and its work in organising a course for labour market integration, in the context of the Swedish establishment programme. The authors were actively involved in the study as embedded researchers.FindingsThe exploration identifies a number of roles that WISEs take on in the establishment programme. It illustrates how WISEs hybrid character places participants at the centre of the innovation process, where their opinions and knowledge are considered crucial, and how this positively affects their ability to gain skills and confidence. However, the study also makes visible how issues of coordination between stakeholders in the programme lead to mismatches between course content and participant profiles, colliding activities and sporadic participation. In short, the bureaucracy embedded in labour market integration systems erodes the preconditions of WISEs to foster social innovation.Originality/valueThe embeddedness of the authors provides in-depth knowledge regarding how complex state systems affect WISEs in practice. Importantly, it also gives insights into the experiences of refugees, a group that is often mentioned in the literature on WISEs, although mainly in passing.

Journal

Social Enterprise JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 4, 2021

Keywords: Action research; Social innovation; Bureaucracy; Labour market integration; Work integration social enterprise

References