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Challenging tensions and contradictions: critical, theoretical and empirical perspectives on social enterprise

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Co-Editors: Mike Bull (Lead), Geoff Whittam, Rory Ridley-Duff and Sue Baines

This special issue seeks to explore critical, theoretical and empirical perspectives of an international nature on social enterprise. The aim of this special issue is to bring together studies that reflect on how far the sector has developed - both in terms of the political economy for social enterprise and the development of organisations that trade for social purpose. Heralded as a saviour from social and economic failure, the business model for public sector reform and an alternative to capitalism, the concept is neither easily, nor universally, conceptualised. Submissions considered, but not limited to, the following potential topics are sought:

  • Geographical and contextual understanding of social enterprise
  • Policy, politics and the political economy
  • Co-operative and solidarity entrepreneurship
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Critical management theory
  • Theoretical and operational challenges of social enterprise
  • Social value and social impact performance measurement
  • Hybridity
  • Social Innovation
  • Governance and ownership
  • Social finance and investment
  • Asset based community development

This call welcomes papers which demonstrate critical reflection on the development of social enterprise. Studies will be considered in a regional, national or international context and can include theoretical and empirical research. We welcome submissions from qualitative case study research to quantitative research, including longitudinal or transnational approaches. The call is also interested in papers that explore understanding of social enterprise across different organisational structures, from charity, solidarity and social business type social enterprises. The special issue would also welcome novel or nascent data analysis methods. In terms of impact, submitted papers should specify the implications for research and or policy development within national contexts. Submissions should seek to establish a clear contribution to the current literature base.


Dr Mike Bull (Lead)
Senior Lecturer and ESRC Third Sector Research Fellow
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Dr Geoff Whittam
Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Rory Ridley-Duff
Sheffield Hallam University

Professor Sue Baines
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School 

Relevant literature

Bull, M. (2008) “Challenging tensions: critical, theoretical and empirical perspectives on social enterprise”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 14(5): 268 275.

Cornforth, C., (2014) "Understanding and combating mission drift in social enterprises", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 10 Iss: 1, pp.3 - 20

Curtis, T. (2008) “Finding That Grit Makes a Pearl: A Critical Re-reading of Research into Social Enterprise”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 14(5): 276 290.

Dey, P. and Steyaert, C. (2010), “The politics of narrating social entrepreneurship”, Journal of Enterprising Communities, People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 85-108.

Dey, P. and Steyaert, C. (2012), “Social entrepreneurship: critique and the radical enactment of the social”, Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 90-107.

Doherty, R., Haugh, H. and Lyon, F (2014) Social enterprises as hybrid organizations: a review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews. Vol 16 Issue 4 pp 417-436

Palmås, K., (2012),"Re-assessing Schumpeterian assumptions regarding entrepreneurship and the social", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 8 Iss 2 pp. 141 - 155

Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2008) “Social Enterprise as a Socially Rational Business”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 14(5): 291-312.

Scott-Cato, M., Arthur, L., Keenoy, T. and Smith, J.. (2008) ‘Entrepreneurial Energy: Associative Entrepreneurship in the Renewable Energy Sector’, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 14(5): 313-329.

Seanor, P., Bull, M., Baines, S. and Ridley-Duff, R. (2013) "Narratives of Transition from social to enterprise: You can't get there from here!". International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research. Vol 19 Issue 3

Seanor, P., Bull, M., Baines, S. and Purcell, M. (2014) "Where social enterprise practitioners draw the line: Towards an understanding of movement from social entrepreneurship as boundary work". International Journal of Public Sector Management. Vol.27 No.4

Sepulveda, L., (2014) "Social enterprise - A new phenomenon in the field of economic and social welfare?" Social Policy and Administration.  doi: 10.1111/spol.12106

Shaw, E. and Carter, S. (2007) “Social Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Antecedents and Empirical Analysis of Entrepreneurial Processes and Outcomes”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 14(3): 418-434.

Short, J.C., Moss, T.W., and Lumpkin, G.T. (2009). Research in social entrepreneurship: Past contributions and future opportunities. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 3, 161–194.

Teasdale, S. (2011), “What’s in a name? The construction of social enterprise, making sense of social enterprise discourses”, Public Policy and Administration, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 99-199.

About the Journal International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research (IJEBR)

The International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research (IJEBR) has a unique focus on publishing original research related to the human and social dynamics of entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial management in small and growing organizations. The Journal has an international perspective on entrepreneurship and publishes conceptual papers and empirical studies which bring together issues of interest to academic researchers and educators, policy-makers and practitioners worldwide. The editorial team encourages high-quality submissions which advance the study ofhuman and behavioural dimensions of entrepreneurship and smaller organizations in the context of entrepreneurial learning.

Submission Guidelines

The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2016 and should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system available through the journal homepage:, or directly via:, choosing ‘‘Social Enterprise’’ as the article type from the drop down menu. All papers must follow the guidelines outlined by the journal for submission. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in immediate rejection.

Initial enquires and expressions of interest can be sent to:

Dr. Mike Bull, [email protected]