Research project surveys over 1,000 social enterprise directors

SEFORIS has reached an important milestone in its research into social enterprises in China, Russia and the EU.

The survey provides a bottom-up view that will help to better understand the role of social enterprise in leading to a more inclusive, innovative society. In spring of 2016 SEFORIS will publish country reports for each of the nine surveyed countries, containing first analyses and profiling of social enterprises.

SEFORIS is a multi-disciplinary research programme funded by the European Commission. Social enterprises from the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, China and Russia have been investigated in an internationally comparative perspective. SEFORIS looks into the processes and structures of social enterprises for generating innovation and inclusion, as well as into the formal and informal institutional conditions which contribute to the development of social enterprises.

“The results of the survey are important for a better understanding of social enterprises across the world and most importantly, they will inform decision-makers on the particularities and contribution that these organisations make to society,” said Johanna Mair, member of the SEFORIS Academic Board and Professor of Organisation, Management and Leadership at the Hertie School.

Critical to the success of the survey was integrating the issue of context - how formal and informal institutions, social capital environment and resources affect social enterprise performance and vice versa. In conjunction with the analysis of governance, impact, financing and innovation, this should allow the researchers to develop thoughtful insights for new policy geared toward social entrepreneurs and social innovation.

The Hertie School is the partner in charge of project implementation in Germany. During the data collection phase the project team conducted three in-depth case studies and surveyed more than 100 German social enterprises. The team, under leadership of Professor Johanna Mair, is also in charge of the Governance work package and will therefore analyse the governance of these organisations, as well as contribute to the elaboration of policy recommendations based on the results of the analysis.