Beyond Box-Ticking: A Study of Stakeholder Involvement in Social Enterprise Governance

18 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2011

See all articles by Justin Larner

Justin Larner

CommEnt CIC

Chris Mason

Swinburne University of Technology

Date Written: June 22, 2011


This paper presents the findings from a small study of social enterprise governance in the United Kingdom, taking a case study approach to uncover the experiences of internal actors who are involved in their board-level management. The study took a qualitative constructionist approach, focusing on stakeholder involvement in social enterprise governance. Initial theme analysis of 14 semi-structured interviews with board or senior management representatives revealed key issues in the governance of social enterprise, which were then explored through a comparative case study of two organisations. The study found that social enterprises surveyed employed a number of mechanisms to ensure appropriate stakeholder involvement in their governance, including adopting a participatory democratic structure which involves one or more groups of stakeholders, creation of a nonexecutive advisory group to inform strategic direction and adopting social accounting with external auditing. The research also highlighted the potential of the Community Interest Company legal form for UK social enterprise, particularly in developing the role of the asset-locked body in terms of providing CIC governance oversight. This survey was limited to the North West of England; however its findings can potentially support innovation in conceptual developments internationally. This research contributes to the under-researched field of social enterprise governance, potentially enabling these organisations to adopt more effective governance mechanisms that appropriately manages the involvement of beneficiaries and other stakeholders.

Keywords: social enterprise, governance, stakeholder, advisory group, CIC

Suggested Citation

Larner, Justin and Mason, Chris, Beyond Box-Ticking: A Study of Stakeholder Involvement in Social Enterprise Governance (June 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Justin Larner

CommEnt CIC ( email )

United Kingdom


Chris Mason (Contact Author)

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
+61392148401 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics