To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Eight paradoxes of the social enterprise research agenda

Ken Peattie (ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Adrian Morley (ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 6 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper summarises key issues arising from a comprehensive research monograph and accompanying discussion paper on social enterprise that reviewed over 150 sources. It aims to provide insight into the future development of the social enterprise research agenda, and how to attract scholars new to the field to contribute to it.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper seeks to identify and address some of the difficulties faced by social enterprise researchers, in terms of defining their field, overcoming institutional pressures that may deter scholars from tackling the social enterprise research agenda and in dealing with some of its complexities.

Findings

In developing the monograph, two key themes were diversity and distinctiveness. Social enterprise is a form of business that is distinctly different to conventional commercial enterprise and that has an extraordinary diversity in organisational form, legal structure, purpose, culture, scale and scope. There are also a number of “paradoxical” elements to the research agenda for social enterprises arising from their “hybrid” nature.

Research limitations/implications

These findings create many challenges for researchers, practitioners and policy‐makers, not least in terms of defining social enterprises consistently, and also in terms of understanding what makes them different to commercial enterprises and what the implications of those differences are.

Originality/value

The insights provided by this discussion should help to resolve and explain some of the debates and conceptual and practical difficulties that have hampered the development of the social enterprise research agenda.

Keywords

Citation

Peattie, K. and Morley, A. (2008), "Eight paradoxes of the social enterprise research agenda", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 91-107. https://doi.org/10.1108/17508610810901995

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited