Published in: Social Enterprise Journal
Cited as: Backer Joost, W. (2019). “Understanding social enterprise in The Netherlands: An application of the macro-institutional social enterprise framework to identify the institutional characteristics of social enterprise in The Netherlands.” Social Enterprise Journal 16(1): 18-45.
This paper aims to provide a qualitative country case study of The Netherlands, adopting the macro-institutional social enterprise (MISE) framework as developed by Kerlin (2009, 2013, 2017). The research question is twofold: How does the institutional context shape the social enterprise country model in The Netherlands, and To what extent can the MISE framework be a useful tool in explaining this dynamic between the institutional context and social enterprise country model?Design/methodology/approach This research applies the MISE framework developed by Kerlin (2017), which is founded upon the historical institutionalist approach.Findings The analysis of the institutional context in The Netherlands shows that the country context shares most traits with the autonomous diverse model. Its institutional environment should however be more enabling for the development of social enterprises. This discrepancy is explained through the notion of political will, resulting in the suggestion that the historical institutionalist approach of the MISE framework could be expanded by a greater focus on political will.Research limitations/implications To investigate the Dutch social enterprise country model, this paper principally relies on external sources, including surveys (McKinsey, 2016; PwC, 2016; Social Enterprise NL, 2015; 2016; 2018). This is problematic due to its subjective nature, small population size used and potential conceptual misfit with the definitions used in this research.Practical implications For academia, this paper enhances the understanding of the relations between the institutional environment and social enterprise by adding a case study of The Netherlands to the body of research around the MISE framework. Furthermore, the paper suggests to enhance the historical institutionalist approach of the MISE framework with a greater focus on political will. For advocates of social enterprises in The Netherlands, including policymakers, this paper may add to their understanding of the current developments around social enterprise in The Netherlands and possibly enhance their effectiveness of advocating for policies that are conducive to the development of social enterprises.Originality/value This research is the first in applying a universally applicable theoretical framework to the context of The Netherlands. For scholars of social enterprise in The Netherlands, it provides a comprehensive overview of developments of social enterprise in the country over recent years, as well as a thorough analysis of the current state of affairs. For international scholars of social enterprise, this research provides a case of comparison with other countries, taking into account all main institutions that shape a country and social enterprise in that country. For scholars of the MISE framework, this research offers an additional country case study that further helps improve the framework.
Visit the journal website to see access options for this document.