The quest for a widely accepted definition of social enterprise (SE) has been a central issue in the last two decades. However, it only seems feasible today to identify a few criteria that were most debated: the specific role of individual social entrepreneurs, the place of social innovation, the search for market income and the issue of governance. The arena of conceptualization efforts should now be fed with more contributions starting from bottom-up approaches built upon a hypothesis that could be termed “the impossibility of a unified definition”. In this paper, we develop a theoretical framework combining principles of interest (mutual, general and capital interest) and resource mixes to identify institutional trajectories generating four major SE models. We then show that all four SE models may address the actual diversity of SE’s social missions. Finally, we suggest that such social missions may be enhanced differently depending on the respective governance mechanisms.
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 8, 2017
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