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The Governance Challenges Of Social Enterprises: Evidence From A Uk Empirical Study


  • Roger Spear
  • Chris Cornforth
  • Mike Aiken


The social enterprise sector in the UK is going through a period of rapid growth, and is being seen by government as another important vehicle for delivering public services. As a result the issue of public trust in social enterprise is of growing importance. While there is a growing literature on the governance of voluntary and non-profit organizations, with some exceptions (e.g. co-operatives) there has been little research on the governance challenges and support needs of social enterprises. The research reported here aimed to help fill that gap. Based on interviews and focus groups with governance advisers, board members and chief executives it explores the typical governance challenges faced by social enterprises. Based on the research the paper develops a new, empirically-grounded typology of social enterprises based on their origins and development path, and presents findings about some of the governance challenges that are common across the sector and some that are more distinctive to the different types of social enterprise. Copyright © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © CIRIEC 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Spear & Chris Cornforth & Mike Aiken, 2009. "The Governance Challenges Of Social Enterprises: Evidence From A Uk Empirical Study," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 80(2), pages 247-273, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:80:y:2009:i:2:p:247-273

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    Cited by:

    1. Chris Mason & Bob Doherty, 2016. "A Fair Trade-off? Paradoxes in the Governance of Fair-trade Social Enterprises," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 451-469, July.
    2. Sacchetti, Silvia & Tortia, Ermanno, 2012. "The internal and external governance of cooperatives: the effective membership and consistency of value," AICCON Working Papers 111-2012, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    3. Saskia Crucke & Mirjam Knockaert, 2016. "When Stakeholder Representation Leads to Faultlines. A Study of Board Service Performance in Social Enterprises," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 768-793, July.
    4. G. Lumpkin & Todd Moss & David Gras & Shoko Kato & Alejandro Amezcua, 2013. "Entrepreneurial processes in social contexts: how are they different, if at all?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 761-783, April.
    5. Millán Díaz-Foncea & Carmen Marcuello, 2012. "Social enterprises and social markets: models and new trends," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 6(1), pages 61-83, March.
    6. Nicholls, Alex, 2010. "Institutionalizing social entrepreneurship in regulatory space: Reporting and disclosure by community interest companies," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 394-415, May.
    7. Ricardo Server Izquierdo & Jordi Capó Vicedo, 2012. "Corporate social responsibility of financial organizations in the social economy: a case study on savings banks," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 6(1), pages 99-115, March.
    8. Luca BAGNOLI & Simone TOCCAFONDI, 2011. "Reporting frameworks for social enterprises: a European overview," CIRIEC Working Papers 1109, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    9. Saskia CRUCKE & Nathalie MORAY & Nathalie VALLET, 2015. "Some Internal representation and Factional Faultlines as Antecedents for Board Performance in Social Enterprises," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(2), pages 385-400, June.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:161:d:63634 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ambrose-Oji, Bianca & Lawrence, Anna & Stewart, Amy, 2015. "Community based forest enterprises in Britain: Two organising typologies," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 65-74.
    12. Lopez-Cozar, C. & Priede, T. & Rodríguez-Lopez, A., 2015. "Evaluating The Legal Environment For Social Entrepreneurship In America And Europe," Revista Galega de Economía, University of Santiago de Compostela. Faculty of Economics and Business., vol. 24(1), pages 101-110.
    13. Saskia Crucke & Adelien Decramer, 2016. "The Development of a Measurement Instrument for the Organizational Performance of Social Enterprises," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-30, February.

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