Different ways of dealing with tensions: practices of (re)negotiation in local social economies

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to propose a nuanced understanding of the diverse practices social enterprises engage with to fulfill their commitments of delivering social/environmental goods and/or services while earning income to sustain their activities.

Design/methodology/approach
This research paper is based on an empirical investigation which used an ethnographic approach to study the social economy in two distinct city regions in the north of England.

Findings
Against a commonsense view of social enterprises being able to balance (with ease) social and economic goals, this paper suggests, based on empirical insights, that such a harmonious rendition tends to neglect the messiness at the heart of such organizations. Heeding ongoing reflections, explanations and negotiations as key ingredients in keeping social enterprises 'balanced', this paper argues that negotiating tensions is a constantly dynamic process.

Originality/value
Using an ethnographic approach, this paper offers insights into the complexities and tensions social enterprises constantly deal with and it shows these tensions must be constantly renegotiated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-314
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Volume13
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • social economies
  • economic goals
  • ethnography
  • trade-off
  • social enterprise
  • tensions
  • re-negotiations

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