Expanding the scope of paradox scholarship on social enterprise: the case for (re)introducing worker cooperatives
Over the past decade, scholars have argued for using a paradox perspective as a provocative and insightful lens for understanding social enterprises. This article addresses two gaps in this burgeoning literature. First, it expands the focus on social enterprises to include worker cooperatives, which are often overlooked but are highly relevant to this area of study. Worker cooperatives are unique among social enterprises due to their foundational principles: worker-ownership, worker-control and worker-benefit. Due to their dual nature as both a democratic association and an economic enterprise, the relationship between the cooperative’s social mission and its business venture is mutually constitutive and inescapable. Second, this article calls for paradox scholarship on social enterprise to include the study of paradoxical tensions other than the conspicuous tension between financial and social performance. This article suggests broadening this focus to include the tensions between communality and individuality, hierarchy and democracy, and between ‘staying alternative’ and ‘going mainstream’. Overall, this article seeks to construct a stronger theoretical basis on which to build future paradox research on alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm.
Copyright (c) 2017 Luc K. Audebrand
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