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Social enterprises operating in the South Wales valleys: a Delphi study of persistent tensions

Anthony Samuel (Cardiff University Business School, Cardiff, UK)
Gareth R.T. White (Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)
Paul Jones (International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Rebecca Fisher (International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 5 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the factors that influence and collectively conspire to inhibit social enterprises’ abilities to flourish in geographies of economic and social deprivation. Drawing upon the extant literature, it deploys a Delphi study to rank the relative importance of these factors.

Design/methodology/approach

A two-round Delphi study has been used to assess the relative importance of the issues that beset social enterprises. The research panel consisted of owner-managers of nine social enterprises from South Wales (UK).

Findings

The findings indicate that the prime challenge faced by social enterprise owner-managers is balancing their dual mission. The difficulties faced in delivering social value while remaining financially viable is one that appears to impinge upon the other strategic and operational challenges they face.

Research limitations/implications

The generalizability of this study that utilizes expert insight is dependent upon the nature of the panel. In this instance, social enterprise owner-managers studied operated within a socially deprived region of the UK. The relative influence of the tensions that affect social enterprises in less impoverished areas of the UK or other geographies may well differ.

Originality/value

Drawing upon the extant literature that examines the tensions that surround social enterprises, the prevailing factors are considered and ranked of significance. The resulting ranking provides a crystallised vantage point for policy and support. This could be used to better inform the allocation of resources to facilitate a favourable eco system capable of supporting social enterprises who operate in areas troubled by economic and social deprivation.

Keywords

Citation

Samuel, A., White, G.R.T., Jones, P. and Fisher, R. (2018), "Social enterprises operating in the South Wales valleys: a Delphi study of persistent tensions", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 22-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/SEJ-10-2017-0052

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited