Communitarian Perspectives on Social Enterprise

11 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2007

See all articles by Rory Rory Ridley-Duff

Rory Rory Ridley-Duff

Sheffield Hallam University - Faculty of Organisation and Management


Concepts of social enterprise have been debated repeatedly, and continue to cause confusion. In this paper, a meta-theoretical framework is developed through discussion of individualist and communitarian philosophy. Philosophers from both traditions build social theories that emphasise either consensus (a unitarist outlook) or diversity (a pluralist outlook). The various discourses in corporate governance reflect these assumptions and create four distinct approaches that impact on the relationship between capital and labour. In rejecting the traditional discourse of private enterprise, social enterprises have adopted other approaches to tackle social exclusion, each derived from different underlying beliefs about the purpose of enterprise and the nature of governance. The theoretical framework offers a way to understand the diversity found within the sector, including the newly constituted Community Interest Company (CIC).

Suggested Citation

Ridley-Duff, Rory J., Communitarian Perspectives on Social Enterprise. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 382-392, March 2007. Available at SSRN: or

Rory J. Ridley-Duff (Contact Author)

Sheffield Hallam University - Faculty of Organisation and Management ( email )

City Campus, Pond Street
Sheffield, S1 1WB
United Kingdom

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