A career as a social entrepreneur: exploring social enterprise through institutional and critical theories

Bell, Belinda (2018) A career as a social entrepreneur: exploring social enterprise through institutional and critical theories. [Doctorate by Public Works]

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Social enterprise is a concept with considerable traction and public interest. This critical commentary explores a selection of the public works which I have produced over twenty years as a social entrepreneur, beginning with a seminal, older work which still remains very active in the public domain and which has influenced the later, more current works. The works are explored through both an institutional theory lens and a critical theory lens in an attempt to shed light on how they came into being, how they operate and whether they work as successfully as hoped against a shifting socio/political context. This gaze has contributed to forming deeper insights and supported a stronger interconnection between the works resulting in a narrative of how I shaped the works and how they have shaped me as a thinker and practitioner. Although this was a personal and professional engagement with my own works, I believe I am now more able to articulate and contextualise my views on social enterprise and finance in a way that can be of use to others in the sector and provide access to those who would like to know more about what this sector is about, its purpose and ideological focuses. The works explored are: Foundation East, a social enterprise I founded which is a financial institution; a series of my academic writings focusing on social finance and Cambridge Social Ventures, a unit within the Cambridge Judge Business School, which I created and currently lead. Key insights include: a critical approach is required to reflect on the real impact of the social enterprise sector within which the works are all embedded; the works have been developed within ambiguous contexts and this has been a major influence on their trajectories; and my personal characteristics, including a sense of curiosity and urgency, are a useful lens through which to understand the creation of the works.

Item Type: Doctorate by Public Works
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Doctorates by Public Works
Item ID: 25928
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 12:36
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:42
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25928

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