Spear, Roger; Cornforth, Chris and Aiken, Michael
The governance challenges of social enterprises: evidence from a UK empirical study.
Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 80(2),
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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.
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