This paper aims to bridge the literatures on social enterprises and human resource management to examine the recruitment practices, specifically the recruitment channels, which are used by social enterprises to attract workers and how and why these practices differ from those used by more mainstream organizations.
It uses the cross-case analysis approach and evaluates four different social enterprises in Thailand. These four social enterprises are located in different industries, including food and beverages, textiles and garments, printing and publishing and entertainment and media. The case study evidence draws on semi-structured interviews, field visits and observations and a review of archival documents and Web resources.
Through these case studies, this paper proposes that social enterprises typically use sub-stream or alternative recruitment channels that differ from those used by more mainstream organizations to attract qualified workers whose beliefs and attitudes are consistent with the objectives of social enterprises, to avoid severe competition in the labor market and to foster the internal development of their employees over time.
One limitation of this research is its methodology. Because this research is based on case studies of four social enterprises across industries in Thailand, it does not claim generalizability to all social enterprises and their recruitment channels. Rather, the results of this research should lead to further discussion of how and why social enterprises are able to recruit qualified candidates, solve financial and human resources constraints and survive severe competition among organizations in the labor market.
This paper also provides managerial implications for human resources practitioners, founders and top managers of social enterprises, not only in Thailand but also in other countries across the globe. First, these human resources practitioners, founders and top managers can use sub-stream or alternative recruitment channels to recruit employees to their social enterprises because these channels should help them attract qualified candidates whose beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, skills, experience and work performance fit with the philosophy and objectives of social enterprises. Second, they can use mainstream recruitment channels only when they have sufficient budgets to support this activity because these channels are expensive and may not support the dual missions of social enterprises. Third, they may attempt to search for an alternative source of potential employees, such as the blind and the disabled, to alleviate the problem of skill shortages at the occupational level and at the national level as a whole.
This paper provides policy implications for the government of Thailand and the governments of several other emerging market economies where the problem of skill shortages is particularly severe. Specifically, these governments should pay attention to solving the problem of occupational-level skill shortages to alleviate severe competition among several types of organizations in the labor market.
First, the findings in this paper extend the literature on human resource management, specifically on recruitment and selection practices, regarding how and why small and emerging organizations such as social enterprises can compete with mainstream organizations to survive severe competition in the labor market. Second, this paper contributes to the literature on social enterprises, specifically regarding how social enterprises resolve the issue of financial constraints to access skilled employees whose identification is consistent with the objectives of social enterprises. Finally, social enterprises in the under-researched country of Thailand are frequently overlooked in the literature. The four social enterprises in this paper are located in a variety of industries, including food and beverages (the Doi Tung Development Project and Doi Chaang Coffee), textiles and garments (the Doi Tung Development Project), printing and publishing (Butterfly Publishing House) and entertainment and media (Payai Creation). These industries, especially the printing and publishing industry and the entertainment and media industry, are also understudied in the literature on human resource management.
This paper was financially supported by Thammasat Business School, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Napathorn, C. (2018), "How do social enterprises recruit workers? The case of social enterprises in Thailand", Journal of Asia Business Studies, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 508-532. https://doi.org/10.1108/JABS-02-2017-0019Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited