Towards a ‘Wellbeing Economy’: what can we learn from social enterprise?

Michael J. Roy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Rather than for the personal enrichment of owners or shareholders, social enterprises can be conceptualised as organisations that work to improve wellbeing, particularly at the local level to address the needs of vulnerable individuals and communities. This chapter looks at the potential role of social enterprise in shaping a ‘wellbeing economy’, an idea that has come to the fore in recent times in several countries around the world as a critique of contemporary economic orthodoxy, in recognition of the dominance of measures such as GDP and the unquestioned idea of perpetual growth, which has proven to be so destructive to the wellbeing of our society and environment. Focusing on research which explores the role of social enterprise in achieving (health and) wellbeing gains, particularly in local communities, an argument is constructed for social enterprise to be considered as a key organisational form on which to base the shaping of a wellbeing economy. The chapter closes with an exploration of the challenges faced—practically, conceptually and methodologically—in building such a wellbeing-focused new social economy, fit to face the formidable challenges of the twenty-first-century life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Social and Impact Economy: An International Perspective
EditorsBenjamin Gidron, Anna Domaradzka
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030682958
ISBN (Print)9783030682941
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Publication series

NameNonprofit and Civil Society Studies


  • social enterprise
  • wellbeing economy
  • social economy
  • critique
  • capitalism


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