Best Conference Paper from 8th EMES International Research Conference

Best Conference Paper from 8th EMES International Research Conference

The 8th EMES International Research Conference held in Teruel last October, entitled “Bringing principles and values to renew action”, featured numerous papers in the field of the social and solidarity economy. The selection criteria of the Best Conference Paper included quality, relevance, impact, originality, and overall contribution to the future of the research in the field of social enterprises.

The overall quality of the submitted papers was high, so selecting a winner proved to be a complicated task for the Conference Committee. We are happy to present you with the paper that received the Best Conference Paper Award.

Best Conference Paper

The winners of the “Best Conference Paper” are Irene Ciccarino, from CARME-IPLeiria (Portugal), Susana Rodrigues, also from CARME-IPLeiria (Portugal) and Jorge Da Silva, from IAG-PUC (Brazil), for their paper “Social value appraisal: cutting the Gordian knot”.

This paper offers a consolidation path for the research field by focusing on a major theoretical consensus: the prevalence of social value above economic goals.

We conducted a short interview with the first author, Irene Ciccarino.

  • What does this award mean to you?

“Personally, because this research is so interconnected with my personal and professional path, this award means a lot to me. I am very glad, and I am confident this recognition can pave new opportunities in my career as a researcher. This award encourages me to keep working to favour social value creation and innovative solutions to solve social problems.”

  • Could you summarize this paper as well as its main findings and contributions to the field/practice/policy-making?

Social value is the social initiatives’ direct outcome. It is important that initiatives gauge and disclose it to reach support. However, there is no theoretical consensus about how to do it. Examining the theory of value in strategy offers a multidisciplinary perspective, bridging commercial and social paradigms. In this sense, three composed measures are posed. They were built upon tested and reliable scales. These value measures are discussed through narratives from Portuguese investors and social entrepreneurs in a mixed-methods design. The social value measures were statistically supported, indicating that the value created could be reported by them. The discussion also signalled the dialectical potential of using these measures in preventive and corrective approaches, thus proving helpful for several organisations that pursue social goals and for policymakers. The results enable improvements in the relationship between investors and initiatives, hence boosting their impact on society. In several places, public funding is still the main available source for social initiatives. Moreover, there is great synergy and complementarily between governments and social initiatives to treat social problems. The measures can also highlight prioritisation choices that influence social value creation, serving as sense-making from a holistic standpoint.

  • Why did you decide to undertake the research described in the paper and what was the process?

When I undertook my Ph.D., I had already been working in the Brazilian social context for more than 10 years. I worked with policy-makers, enterprises and civil society in several initiatives. Since I have been raised in this social context, marked by inequalities and social vulnerabilities, I have always been engaged with social movements since childhood, as a girl-guide (scout), and never stopped. Thus, I knew well the struggles faced to achieve social impact. This was my research’s inspiration. However, the rise of the Brazilian extreme right-wing government and the consequent depletion of social impact initiatives in the country made me reconsider my research: I did not have the conditions to do it there anymore. Then, I unexpectedly found in Portugal ideal conditions and support to develop the research. I also explore this trend in other papers, where I explain the Portuguese pioneering social investment public policy. Portuguese is also my second nationality. Since social value is a borderless concept, it can help people where it is needed. Therefore, I think I somewhat accomplished my goal, contributing to building a better society.

  • How do you think that such an Award can contribute to advancing SE scholarship?

This award encourages further developments on the social value measures posed, which in turn can enhance the contribution to advancing SE scholarship. Indeed, be it through a replication of the study or systematic monitoring of the use of measures in real cases, SE theory will benefit from what this award highlights by promoting better information about social value creation. Better information can inspire more studies and SE scholarship. The potential understanding between social initiatives and investors favoured by clear measures can also increase funding opportunities for SE scholarship.

To download the full version of the EMES Selected Conference papers, click here. Do not hesitate to contact the authors to comment on their work or to share your own related research.




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