The purpose of this paper primarily contributes to the social enterprises and human resource management (HRM) literature by examining the roles of founders in shaping how workers in social enterprises are managed.
This paper uses a cross-case analysis of three social enterprises in the food and agricultural products and food and beverage industries in Thailand. The case study evidence in this paper draws on semi-structured interviews with each social enterprise’s founders, managers and employees; field visits to each social enterprise in Bangkok and other provinces in Thailand; and a review of archival documents and web-based reports and resources. This paper uses thematic analysis to pinpoint, examine and record the patterns or themes found in the data.
This paper proposes that the founders of social enterprises play a variety of roles in shaping the human resource (HR) systems and practices used in these enterprises. First, founders serve as role models for managers and employees of social enterprises. Second, founders serve as succession planners for social enterprises. Third, the founders serve as builders and enforcers of corporate culture in social enterprises. Finally, founders serve as builders and enforcers of the HR systems and practices used in these enterprises. Put simply, without the roles of founders, the corporate culture and HR systems and practices of social enterprises might not be sustainable over time.
Because this research is based on case studies of three social enterprises located in Thailand, the findings may not be generalizable to all other social enterprises across countries. Rather, the aim of this paper is to further the discussion regarding the roles of founders in shaping the HR systems and practices used in social enterprises. Another limitation of this research is that it does not include social enterprises in several other industries, including the entertainment and media, printing and publishing and hotel and restaurant industries. Future research may explore how the founders of social enterprises in other industries shape the HR systems and practices used in those enterprises. Moreover, quantitative studies using large samples of social enterprises across industries might also be useful in deepening the understanding of a topic that is important from the perspectives of both social enterprises and HRM.
This paper has practical implications for founders and/or top managers of social enterprises is not only Thailand but also other countries. It also has social/policy implications for the government and/or relevant public agencies in Thailand and for several other developing countries/emerging market economies.
Very little research has examined the various roles of founders in shaping how workers in social enterprises are managed. In addition, there has been relatively little research focusing on the characteristics of social enterprises’ founders in developing countries, including Thailand. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature on social enterprises and HRM regarding how the founders of small, hybrid organizations such as social enterprises in Thailand play their roles as builders and enforcers of HR systems and practices and other roles relevant to the management of workers.
Napathorn, C. (2020), "Managing workers in Thai social enterprises: the role of founders", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 18-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-01-2019-1625Download as .RIS
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