Social enterprises in quasi-markets: Exploring the critical knowledge gaps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



  • Mason, C. et al (2019) Social enterprises in quasimarkets: exploring the critical knowledge gaps

    Rights statement: This is a post-peer review, pre-copy edited version of the article published in Social Enterprise Journal and may differ slightly from the final published version of the work. This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear in this repository. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Accepted author manuscript, 252 KB, PDF-document


View graph of relations

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
StatePublished - 13 May 2019


This paper aims to explore how social enterprises are treated in scholarly research on quasi-markets. In so doing, the paper aims to show that a number of critical knowledge gaps persist which require deeper engagement from researchers, practitioners and policymakers alike.

This study adopts a conceptual analysis of the existing literature concerning social enterprises and quasi-markets.

The paper finds that there are four main knowledge gaps in this area. First, there are moral dilemmas created by boundary shifts, arising from the development of quasi-markets. Second, the phenomenon of “tactical mimicry” (Day and Teasdale 2016) represents a key theoretical platform not yet fully explored. Third, the lack of clear, comparative assessments of social enterprises across quasi-markets, and other types of service providers is also apparent despite offering a significant methodological opportunity for scholars. Fourth, there is the issue of how social enterprises engage in, and resource the operational functions that will support their management of conflicting logics, especially rigorous impact measurement.

This paper uses a synthesis of key social enterprise and quasi-market studies to extend current debate in this area, which tends to be diffused and complex. By focussing on critical knowledge gaps, the paper contributes a meta-level appraisal of the key areas for future research, providing a focussed agenda for scholars to target their efforts in growing this important body of knowledge.


  • social enterprise , research agenda, quasi-markets