The social entrepreneur's network paradox

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Julie Bohn Rasmussen
  • Julie Takla Lie-Nielsen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The Danish welfare society is under multiple pressures – both demographically, but also due to the fact that there is a disparity between the abilities demanded by the labour market and the skills and competences that are available among disadvantaged unemployed people.
Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) is highlighted in the public debate as a phenomenon with great potential for solutions. Marginalized groups of disadvantaged unemployed people who receive public benefits and are at risk of permanent exclusion from the labour market are introduced to employment in alternative work environments. Beside from the social aspect the state benefits through lower social security costs.
This thesis examines the function and influence of a cross-sectoral governance network on the establishment of a social enterprise and which opportunities and challenges it creates using this form of governance. Based on a case study of a governance network around the social enterprise INSP! Mad we conclude the following.

The governance network is the institutional framework around the establishment of INSP! Mad and contributes to define the social work with unemployed match group 2-citizens within a social enterprise. The stakeholders have an impact on the establishment of INSP! Mad, because they take a key position due to their functions in the network.

It has a positive impact on the establishment of INSP! Mad that all relevant stakeholders develop their internal relationships, exchange knowledge and get the opportunity to resolve conflicts.
It creates possibilities that the stakeholders are representing various professional fields and therefore complement each other’s knowledge and experience in the establishment phase. The governance network are therefore contributing to a broader-based ownership meaning that INSP! Mad is not alone with the responsibility for the establishment.

It can be concluded that there are challenges associated with the network governance in response to agreeing on cooperation, establish consensus and taking responsibility for developing a social economy.
Stakeholders have different interests, which are not always compatible and accommodated by the social entrepreneur. The powerful players have an already established practice, which may be difficult to challenge and change.

In summary it can be concluded that the social entrepreneur has to act in a network paradox. The network governance creates opportunities, but requires time, energy and resources and creates other challenges when establishing a social enterprise.
INSP! Mad are both affected by and adapts to its institutional environment in the transformation from project to business. This requires adjustment to existing structures without losing the unique and innovative aspects of the social enterprise.
Publication date30 Jul 2012
Number of pages144
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet, Kandidatuddannelsen i Socialt Arbejde
ID: 66190302