Differentiating the effect of social enterprise activities on health

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online date2 Feb 2018
StatePublished - Mar 2018


An emerging stream of literature has focused on the ways in which social enterprises might act on the social determinants of health. However, this previous work has not taken a sufficiently broad account of the wide range of stakeholders involved in social enterprises and has also tended to reduce and simplify a complex and heterogeneous set of organisations to a relatively homogenous social enterprise concept. In an attempt to address these gaps, we conducted an empirical investigation between August 2014 and October 2015 consisting of qualitative case studies involving in-depth semi-structured interviews and a focus group with a wide variety of stakeholders from three social enterprises in different regions of Scotland. We found that different forms of social enterprise impact on different dimensions of health in different ways, including through: engendering a feeling of ownership and control; improving environmental conditions (both physical and social); and providing or facilitating meaningful employment. In conclusion, we highlight areas for future research.


  • social enterprise, health

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