Beyond Philanthropy: Community Enterprise as a Basis for Corporate Citizenship
42 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2005
In this article we argue that the emergence of a new form of organisation - community enterprise - provides an alternative mechanism for corporations to behave in socially responsible ways. Community enterprises are distinguished from other third sector organisations by their generation of income through trading, rather than philanthropy and/or government subsidy, to finance their social goals. They also include democratic governance structures which allow members of the community or constituency they serve to participate in the management of the organisation. Partnerships between corporations and community enterprises therefore raise the possibility of corporations moving beyond philanthropic donations toward a more sustainable form of intervention involving long-term commitments to communities. At the same time they change substantively the nature of any collaboration by allowing relationships to proceed on the basis of mutual advantage, thereby broadening their appeal and scope. In doing so, partnerships build capacity and enfranchise communities in a way that avoids the paternalism that has traditionally characterised relationships between corporations and voluntary sector organisations. Power relations are transformed because partners are seen as sources of valuable assets, knowledge and expertise, rather than recipients of patronage or charity.
Keywords: Social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, community enterprise, corporate legitimacy, corporate social responsibility, local accountability, partnership
JEL Classification: M14
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