April 2018, « Social Business and Innovations » by Pascal GLEMAIN* and Nadine RICHEZ-BATTESTI**
Over the past twenty years, we have witnessed an inflation of the social or solidarity qualifiers to name the company, the economy or the forms of responsibility …, often blurring the representation of what we call in France the “social and solidarity economy” (ESS). Thus the social enterprise and its english version Social Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Economy … are all expressions that are confusing. However, these « new » words cover realities that are important to understand and that affect the social economy, in terms of the new devices and organizations that it promotes (activity and employment cooperatives, solidarity-based finance, social innovation …), and of the economic models that underpin it (race to size, social impact contract).
The debate on social enterprise is not new, but it takes a more radical and polarized dimension with contemporary debates a) on the enterprise, b) on the renewed modes of production and governance of social goods and services in place of public actors, and c) on the dissemination of managerial standards from the lucrative private sector. To the hybridization of the principles of exchange mobilizing the market, the State and the reciprocity, we see on the opposite the regulatory capacity of firms and of the market and the predominance of the economy at the expense of joint regulation in which debates on political and social choices are essential. The excesses of the commodification of the social are multiple. Social innovations are fragile … Experiences at the territorial level nevertheless seem to be promising and the new financing tools (endowment funds, participatory finance …) are very popular. In a context of radical uncertainty, the social economy and the social enterprise do not escape the ambiguities of emerging regulations and the massive changes in their ecosystem, in the companies that drive them and the financial models that support them.
The issue of Market and Organizations https://www.cairn.info/revue-marche-et-organisations-2018-1.htm jointly addresses the renewal of entrepreneurship and financing modes directly or indirectly affecting the “social and solidarity economy”.
*LiRIS, EA 7481, Rennes 2 University and CERMi – firstname.lastname@example.org
**University of Aix Marseille and LEST-Cnrs- email@example.com