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Business practices in social enterprises

Bull, Mike and Crompton, Helen (2006) Business practices in social enterprises. Social enterprise journal, 2 (1). pp. 42-60. ISSN 1750-8614

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Abstract

Purpose: To report the findings of a European Social Fund (ESF) financed study into the investigation and development of business practices and managerial skills in the social enterprises sector. Design/methodology/approach – The qualitative and grounded research investigation was conducted using interviews with owner/managers of 15 social enterprises in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, UK, and aimed to develop a strategic understanding of social enterprise business practices and issues and to develop baseline information to develop a management tool based on the balanced scorecard (BS) of Kaplan and Norton (1996). Develops a definition of social enterprise and presents a brief background of the post-war development of the social enterprises sector, its recent growth and increasing competition for resources. Findings – The results indicated that social enterprises adopt varying practices, face many issues and, while many are beginning to make themselves more accountable in terms of their social value, there was little evidence to suggest that social enterprises were measuring their social impact beyond providing data that was sought by funders. Reveals that the social enterprise managers implied that the next step was to become more proactive in recording and marketing their social values and that developing social value indicators is the next challenge, while evidence suggests that tools developed for social enterprises need to be informal, non-generic and based on experiential learning. Originality/value – Reveals key concepts that will form the framework for a modified BS.

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