In one of its previous books, the EMES network traced the most significant developments in ‘social entrepreneurship’ emerging inside the third sector in Europe. Building upon that seminal work, the present book presents the results of an extensive research project carried out over a four-year period. More precisely, this book develops a theory of social enterprise through a comparative analysis of 160 social enterprises across 11 EU countries. It breaks new ground both in its articulation of multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks and through its rigorous analysis of empirical evidence based on a homogenised data collection methodology.
The empirical field chosen to carry out the analysis is that of work integration, which is emblematic of the dynamics of social enterprises and a major sphere of their activity. The main goal of ‘work integration social enterprises’ (WISEs) is to help disadvantaged unemployed people, who are at risk of permanent exclusion from the labour market, and to integrate them back into work and society in general through productive activity.
The book is structured around a number of key themes (multiple goals and multiple stakeholders, multiple resources, trajectories of workers, public policies) developed through a transversal European analysis, and illustrated with short country experiences that reflect the diversity of welfare models across Europe.
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