Playing with numbers: a methodological critique of the social enterprise growth myth

Simon Teasdale, Fergus Lyon, Rob Baldock

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Citations (Scopus)


    Social enterprise is a contested concept which has become a site for policy intervention in many countries. In the UK the government has invested significant resources into social enterprise infrastructure, partly to increase the capacity of social enterprises to deliver or replace public services. Government publications show the number of social enterprises to have increased from 5,300 to 62,000 over a five-year period. This paper explores the myth of social enterprise growth in the UK through a methodological critique of the four government data sources used to construct and legitimise this myth. Particular attention is paid to how political decisions influence the construction of evidence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-131
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Social Entrepreneurship
    Issue number2
    Early online date12 Mar 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • critique
    • legitimacy
    • official statistics
    • social enterprise
    • social entrepreneurship
    • business growth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)


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