The Growth of Organizational Variety in Market Economies: The Case of Social Enterprises

23 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2010 Last revised: 11 Feb 2014

See all articles by Carlo Borzaga

Carlo Borzaga

University of Trento; European Research Institute on Cooperative & Social Enterprises (EURICSE)

Sara Depedri

European Research Institute on Cooperative & Social Enterprises (EURICSE); University of Trento

Ermanno C. Tortia

University of Trento - Department of Economics and Management; Euricse

Date Written: February 1, 2010

Abstract

Institutional and organizational variety is increasingly characterising advanced economic systems. While traditional economic theories have focussed almost exclusively on profit-maximizing (i.e. for-profit) enterprises and on publicly-owned organizations, the increasing relevance of non-profit organizations, and especially of social enterprises, requires scientists to reflect on a new comprehensive economic approach for explaining this organizational variety. The paper examines the main limitations of the orthodox and institutional theories and comes to assert the need for creating and testing a new theoretical framework, which considers the way in which diverse enterprises pursue their goals, the diverse motivations driving actors and organizations, and the different learning patterns and routines within organizations. The new framework of analysis proposed in the paper draws upon recent developments in the theories of the firm, institutional evolution, and motivational complexity to explain the presence of diverse types of organizations on a continuum ranging from purely for-profit and commercial forms to socially-oriented entrepreneurial ones.

Keywords: Social enterprises, organizational pluralism, neo-institutional economics, behavioral economics, organizational continuum

JEL Classification: J81, L31, P50

Suggested Citation

Borzaga, Carlo and Depedri, Sara and Tortia, Ermanno C., The Growth of Organizational Variety in Market Economies: The Case of Social Enterprises (February 1, 2010). Euricse Working Papers No. 003/10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1622155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1622155

Carlo Borzaga

University of Trento ( email )

Via Giuseppe Verdi 26
Trento, Trento 38152
Italy

European Research Institute on Cooperative & Social Enterprises (EURICSE) ( email )

Via S. Giovanni 36
38122 Trento (TN)
Italy

Sara Depedri (Contact Author)

European Research Institute on Cooperative & Social Enterprises (EURICSE) ( email )

Via S. Giovanni 36
38122 Trento (TN)
Italy

University of Trento

Via Giuseppe Verdi 26
Trento, Trento 38152
Italy

Ermanno C. Tortia

University of Trento - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Via Inama, 5
Trento, TN Trento 38122
Italy
00390461882383 (Phone)
00390461882222 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unitn.it

Euricse ( email )

Via Torre Verde, 5
38122 Trento (TN), TN 38122
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.europee.eu

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