Corporate social responsibility and social enterprises: An empirical study through the lens of Sen’s capabilities approach
KeywordCorporate social responsibility (CSR)
The capability approach
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentFaculty of Management and Law
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AbstractPrevious studies by Cornforth (2003, 2004), Cornelius et al. (2008), Cornelius and Wallace (2010), and Wallace and Cornelius (2010) highlight the need for further research in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for social enterprises and how their governance systems facilitate social outcomes when aligned to organisational mission. Against this backdrop, the main aim of this study is: to investigate the extent to which social enterprises (not-for-profit social providers) pursue ethical practices and social policies underpinned by their CSR agendas that enhance their stakeholders’ capabilities. The conceptual framework for the study is built on Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach (Sen 1991, 1999). Primary data were collected from face-to-face, in-depth, semi structured interviews with twelve owner-managers of small social enterprises from Bradford, UK. These were designed to understand their enterprise’s ethical views towards the development of deprived communities and the role this has in formulating their enterprise’s CSR agenda. The interview data were transcribed and analysed using constructivist grounded theory. The findings suggest that external CSR provision is often prompted as an immediate reaction to problematic issues arising in society. In general, it consequently lacks sustainability and is insufficiently evaluated for long term social impact. It is therefore argued that the CSR agenda for social enterprises should be based more on the organisation’s social ethos than the current process. Moreover, the findings emphasise the importance of social strategy emanating from governance mechanisms as this was identified as critical for the implementation of the CSR agenda so that social value is created in a structured and planned manner. These findings make a contribution to knowledge by providing conceptual and empirical insights regarding the consequences of social enterprises incorporating capabilities into their CSR policies and practices, and its social impact. Moreover, a conceptual model is developed that reflects the strategic importance of such a convergence in achieving this dual purpose.
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