Sweden, and many other countries, has, during the twentieth century, developed a rather large public sector providing social welfare services to citizens. Only to a small extent were private for or nonprofit organizations providing these services. During the last decade we have seen a shift towards more services being provided by private for- and nonprofit actors. This shift means that roles are reconsidered, renegotiated and reconstructed. In this debate social entrepreneurship, social enterprises and innovation are emphasized. The aim of this paper is to problematize and analyze how social entrepreneurship and social enterprises relate to public sector management and governance.
In the paper theories on (social) entrepreneurship and innovation is combined with theories focusing on welfare structures. Empirically, the analysis is based on the current policy development in Sweden and five social entrepreneurship initiatives. The analysis discloses the relationship between the public sector and social entrepreneurship as negotiation of emerging social enterprise markets in which aspects as the creation of value, dependencies and innovation are emphasized. Even if the study has a geographical focus both theoretical contributions and implications for policy and practice can be of use also in other contexts.