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Title: The nature of social enterprise in Greece : the effect of the social enterprise trend on non-profits in Greece in a shrinking economy
Author: Dima, Fani
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9759
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the notion of social enterprise in Greece. In particular it investigates how non-profits incorporate social enterprise in an environment facing a severe financial and social crisis. The study is done through a participatory and reflective research approach that allows the emergence of enriched results. The review of the existing literature in this area revealed that despite the lack of a universal definition, the concept of social enterprise has generally been viewed positively and has raised the expectations for social and economic transformation. Policy makers expect social enterprises to become a lever out of the crisis of reducing state funding and contribute to financial and social change. Until recently, the common assumption was that social enterprises emerge bottom-up and constitute the most ethical option of social welfare services provision after the failure of the state and the markets to provide for society. Hence, non-profits were encouraged to adopt entrepreneurial techniques to support their social purpose as a way out of the financial problems they are facing. The great interest on the effect of 'social enterprise' on the traditional non-profit sector comes from the peculiarity of the Greek case with the top-down enforcement of the concept coupled with a history of corruption in civil society. Even though researchers following a more critical stance towards social enterprises challenge the underlying assumptions of this new concept and raise awareness about its negative impacts, in Greece the 'social economy' and 'social enterprise' concepts are used as 'silver bullets' by policy makers. Wishing to follow this critical tradition, I proceeded with an in-depth case study drawing upon participant observation and reflective methods. In locating my research in an active non-profit organisation in Athens, I intended that my findings could be extended to similar organisations. This thesis found that in Greece, the top-down implementation of the concept allowed non-profits to incidentally adopt this rhetoric in order to ensure their long-term survival and then in turn influence the way society makes sense of social enterprises. The institutional environment further hinders the growth of the sector as it directs the social enterprises and non-profits towards public procurement making and any other alternative seems impossible. Lastly, based on the above findings, I conclude that social economy despite its infancy faces the risk of corruption. Hence, I suggest that policy makers' support, rather than guide, social enterprises to allow them to achieve their full potential. Future research and practice need to focus on raising awareness for the social economy and assessing social impact as a way to improve transparency and gain the trust of society.
Supervisor: Westrup, Christopher ; Duncombe, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: reflexivism ; participant observation ; social enterprise ; traditional non-profits ; Greece