Over the past the last few decades we have seen an increased interest in social entrepreneurship and social enterprises (see e.g. Dees, 1998; Nicholls, 2006; Peredo & McLean, 2006; Kerlin, 2009; Andersen, Gawell & Spear, 2016). On one hand, these phenomena relate to discourses on entrepreneurship and enterprises that have a strong position in policy, practices as well as academia promoted by organizations such as Ashoka, Schwab and Skoll Foundations among others (Nicholls, 2010). On the other hand, the composite concepts relate to the ‘social’ and looking at the emerging discourse there are strong links to the co-operative movement and the nonprofit field (Borzaga & Defourny, 2001; Nyssens, 2006; Borzaga, Galera & Nogales, 2008). The richness of perspectives and approaches to studying social entrepreneurship and social enterprises are encouraging but also challenging. Young & Lecy (2013) suggest after several years’ discussions of definitions that we ought to view the field as a social enterprise zoo where different species exist. Still, we want to be able to address different aspects that call for aggregation to explore the phenomena in a comparative way to further our understanding of possibilities, shortcomings, and relationships between different initiatives and institutional factors.
In 2009, Kerlin presented a comparison of social enterprises in six settings over five different continents. The comparison was influenced by the social origins theory of the nonprofit sector presented by Salamon, Sokolowski & Anheier in 2000, including their analysis of the embedding of nonprofit organizations in historical, cultural, economic, social and political contexts. In 2013, Kerlin presented a conceptual framework for comparative analysis of social enterprises based on institutional factors. In this chapter, this framework is used to analyse the development of social enterprises in Sweden.