Our areas of expertise include:
- Social enterprise and cooperative social entrepreneurship
- Social innovation and social value in the delivery of public services
- Governance, accountability and regulation of non-profit and social economy organisations
- Regional economic and social policy development
Our research activities, related knowledge transfer and teaching activities are organised through two key centres:
- Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR)
- FairShares Institute for Cooperative Social Entrepreneurship (FSI)
CRESR is a leading UK policy research centre that seeks to understand the impact of social and economic disadvantage on places and people, and assess critically the policies and interventions targeted at these issues. Our research is funded by government departments and agencies, local authorities, charities and foundations, international organisations and the private sector.
We have expertise covering a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods, evaluation, policy advice and guidance, and consultancy. Many of our current projects in this field focus on the inter-relationship between the state and the third sector at the nexus of local and national policy governance. We are currently undertaking major national research and evaluation projects for the Big Lottery Fund, Save the Children, the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Trussell Trust, along with a range of locally focussed activity.
CRESR is the home of People, Place and Policy, an online journal which provides an independent forum for academic debate on the challenges faced by contemporary society.
The FSI is a new project funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund within Sheffield Business School that undertakes research, knowledge transfer and education projects. It has a steering group of four researchers supervising seven doctoral studies that add knowledge of the social economy to our business studies degrees.
The FSI is working on three European / African projects with Social Enterprise International Ltd to support a Social Enterprise Academy in Nigeria, create FairShares Labs in Europe and develop strategies for integrating social innovation skills training into educational curricula. The FairShares Institute has entered into partnerships with the Co-operative College (Manchester) and Cooperative Management Education Programme at Sobey School of Business (Canada) and Mondragon University (Spain) to develop and deliver undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education programmes.
Researchers from our two research centres hold editorial positions in field-related journals such as Voluntary Sector Review (VSR), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), Social Enterprise Journal (SEJ) and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship (JSE).
Our work has collectively featured in field specific journals such as NVSQ, SEJ, Voluntas, Journal of Co-operative Studies and VSR, as well as international disciplinary journals such as Public Administration, Policy and Politics, Human Relations, Business and Society, Journal of Business Ethics, Corporate Governance: An International Review and the Industrial Relations Journal.
Our vibrant doctoral community, which we help to organize a research conference every year, continues to advance the field with new studies of:
- responsible leadership
- for-purpose accounting
- third-public sector relationships
- third-public sector funding and marketisation
- actors and institutional structures in public service innovation
- the performance of democracy in worker co-operatives
- performance and reward in employee-owned businesses
- reward management in digital co-operatives
- social enterprise education
- social entrepreneurial choices on legal structures
- sustainable development in worker co-operatives
- pro-social decision-making in crowdfunding
Lastly, our researchers are active running streams about the social economy and third sector at the Critical Management Studies Conference, International Social Innovation Research Conference, EMES Social Enterprise Research Conference, International Third Sector Research Conference, International Co-operative Alliance Research Conference, Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Conference, UK Society for Co-operative Studies Conference and the International Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference.