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1. Longitudinal studies would be preferable to provide evidence on the effect of entrepreneurs’ age changes on social value creation across time, as this article’s cross-sectional design does not fully allow to determine conclusively whether the U-shaped relationship between entrepreneurs’ age and social value creation are due to true aging effects, cohort effects, or period effects.
2. This study captures entrepreneurs’ perceived value creation rather than actual value creation. Future research could explore whether more objective measures of such variable would yield to similar results.
3. Future research should investigate if and how additional informal institutions such as a country’s trust level or social identity influence the relationship between age and social value creation.
4. It would also be interesting to examine age patterns in the relationships between gender, culture, and value creation goals.
5. Future research could focus on the role of country- and individual-level incomes and wealth for the relationship between age and social value creation to bring more clarity to this matter.
1. Design and implementation of policies to support SE must consider the differential effect (e.g. factors related to self-perception about entrepreneurship, demographic factors and context and entrepreneurial environment) depending on the development of businesses focused on the solution of social problems in the country where they are applied.
2. For lower social enterprise sector development, policies of awareness and promotion of social entrepreneurship could be more effective when they are focused on women and elder people.
3. However, in the case of higher social enterprise sector development, the effectiveness of these policies could be improved if they are focused on people with at least a secondary educational level.
1. Since there are different types of social entrepreneurs, with greater or lower market orientation and the achievement of social objectives, it would be interesting to analyze the effect that the social enterprise sector development has based on the type of social entrepreneur affected.
2. Moreover, it would be interesting to see if the effect of the variable “”trust matter”” is the same in social enterprises.
The findings presented here are of relevance to policymakers nationally and internationally, as they offer an increased understanding of emerging social care markets arising from policy-shifts towards empowering social care users to self-direct their care. Local authorities were found to largely constrain their social care markets through controlling the choices individuals could make over their care, including the types of activities they could purchase and the types of organisations they could purchase them from. Such constraint was found to be an artifact of both existing procurement legislation and internal local authority change-resistance. This resistance to change also hampered social innovation and the growth of small, new social enterprise entrants. While the timing of the introduction of the Social Care Act and the pressures of austerity did little to support local authorities to consistently implement the policy, it could not explain local authorities’ failure to recognise the added value and expertise social enterprises could bring to the social care sector.
This study is limited to the views of a purposively selected group of people currently engaged in social care in Scotland who have an interest in social enterprise. A larger systematic investigation with a broader range of stakeholders is urgently needed to give greater insight into the range of issues presented here, including the ongoing lack of social care provision in some areas, the local authority governance of social care quasi-markets; the relationship between local authorities and the social enterprise sector; the lack of personal choice over care; and the constraint on social innovation through an overdependence on historic processes and traditional care activities.
1) A lesson that social enterprise research must incorporate from corporate governance scholarship is that the realization of an enterprise’s corporate purpose is not spontaneous or automatic, but it depends on governance mechanisms designed to tackle problems of opportunism, conflict of interests, and bounded rationality. Both, the empirical social enterprise research that this paper takes issue with and the theory-laden alternative advocated, assume for the sake of convenience that the fulfillment of the social enterprise’s mission is beyond doubt. A judicious scientific mindset would, however, be inclined to open the black box of social enterprises to examine whether suitable governance mechanisms are in place and how to design them.
2) Another challenge to be addressed is the analysis of the policy implications of social
enterprises. Because most enterprises in market economies are chartered as fiduciary entities operated by and for their owners, or on behalf of the residual claimants of profits, there is always room for a breach of the imperative to satisfy stakeholders and worst-off customers in particular. This is a market failure which has thus far been tackled with product liability legislations, antitrust regulations, a transparent judiciary, and consumer protection agencies. Social enterprises can be deemed to join this battery of corrective mechanisms whose policy implications merit more attention. Herein lies the future of social enterprise research.
Future studies should:
1) Investigate on barriers to growth would be to examine the relative influence of different barriers on commercial, social and environmental performance. Are some barriers greater impediments to growth than others? The development of metrics to quantify social and environmental impact is still very much in its infancy and research that examined how social and environmental impacts are measured, and the relationships between economic, social and environmental impacts, would contribute to further developing our understanding of social enterprise performance.
2) Compare barriers to growth across a wider range of industries and different social enterprise forms would widen our understanding of the contextual determinants of social enterprise performance and growth. Comparisons by organizational form, industry, and country would shed light on the relationships between environment and social enterprise performance and growth. In particular, the unique make up of finance in many non-market oriented social enterprises may provide insight into a range of other strategies for gaining access to finance.
3) Investigate the extent to which the cognitive processes of commercial and social entrepreneurs are in alignment or diverge. Research on strategies for social enterprise partnering would provide key insights into the roles of moral agency and dual mission in network development, and would also provide a key context for understanding the cognitive pillar of social capital.
4) Explores how local anchoring might be harnessed for the collective good across other organizational forms would extend theory and assist in addressing many of today most pressing social and environmental problems.
Growth strategies that build on social enterprise distinctive competences in values-based decision making, leveraging social mission, and anchoring, provide avenues for competitive advantage over the long term for all types of social enterprise. Sometimes scaling could provide the pathway to sustainability, and if so, then the projected operational model must be robustly calibrated before undertaking the expansion. Any stretch along the impact dimension must prove itself through successful outcomes for the beneficiaries. The entrepreneur must therefore carefully assess the organization’s potential resources before undertaking any move in the complementary dimension. Remaining focused on delivering the organization’s founding goals is valuable contribution in many cases.