Social Enterprise as Catalyst for Change: Case Study of India and UK

Roopinder Oberoi , Jamie Halsall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The globalization economies have heightened the importance of entrepreneurial action for creating wealth (Hitt et al. in Strateg Manag J 22(6–7):479–491, 2001) and addressing persistent social problems (Zahra et al. in Acad Manag Rev 25:509–524, 2000). This has left many in poverty, intensifying the plight of those who occupy the bottom of the pyramid (Prahalad in The Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: Eradicating poverty through profits. Wharton School Publishing, Upper Saddle, 2006). Demographic shifts, liberalization of national economies and attendant markets, institutional and state failures, and technological advances have combined to increase the calls for more social consciousness within businesses, providing the impetus for the formation of social ventures. Porter describes social entrepreneurship as a “Trojan horse,” a means to get business on board as part of a larger movement calling for “a more ethical and socially inclusive capitalism” (Driver in Acad Manag Learn Educ 11(3):421–431, 2012: 421). Social entrepreneurship may be the vehicle or catalyst to change the economic system in such a way that profits produce positive social and economic change, and financial markets reward companies for doing so through social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs represent a powerful idea, an idea that is relevant today more than ever before: Business can be a vehicle to create both economic values and contributing to building a fair and equitable society. The financial crisis has united economists and philosophers in an effort to promote a more inclusive global economy. The introduction of social enterprise in a global context has advanced an institutional shift in the way society is governed. Social enterprises are frequently referred to as “agents of change.” Social enterprises are gaining popularity in many parts of the world due to their great potential to advance the agenda of inclusive and sustainable growth. Social enterprise could be acknowledged, which begs the question, as a “broader economic social and solidarity movement” and as “an alternative to mainstream capitalist enterprise, which aims to combine economically viable business for wealth creation, service provision and improving well-being of individuals and places” (Farmer et al. 2016: 238). In this article, we attempt to illustrate that rapid globalization and related forces have created space for social enterprises worldwide. It is imperative to appreciate that ecosystem make possible social enterprises to nurture and mature. The historical evolution of social enterprises illustrates that social enterprises are fashioned by the political, legal and socioeconomic environments prevalent in country (Poon in Harvard Bus Rev 62–77, 2011; Kerlin in Int Soc Third Sect Res Voluntas 21:162–179, 2010). There must be an “ecosystem” of enabling institutions to assist the success and scaling up of social enterprises (Poon in Soc Impact Res Experience J (SIRE) 1–1, 2011: 30). David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, highlighted that “Social enterprises, charities and voluntary bodies have the knowledge, human touch and personal commitment to succeed where governments often fail” (Cabinet Office in Prime Minister’s speech at the social impact investment forum in June 2013, 2013). This chapter will provide theoretical understanding of social enterprise against the backdrop of debate on deglobalization and will map the significant role of social enterprise in India and the UK in the current context. The field of social enterprise has emerged as an area of mutual learning between India and the UK, and there is strong commitment from both governments to foster the third sector as a “wedge” between the public and private sectors, which can promote inclusive development progress. Social enterprise has increasingly become an important feature in the social and economic policy process at central and local government levels in the UK and India; this cross-country analysis will highlight the convergence of ideas on the future model as inclusive and developmental.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Components of Sustainable Development
Subtitle of host publicationEngagement and Partnership
EditorsDavid Crowther, Shahla Seifi
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811392092
ISBN (Print)9789811392085, 9789811392115
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019
Event17th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility and 8th Organisational Governance Conference - Dhaka, Bangladesh
Duration: 11 Sep 201813 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameApproaches to Global Sustainability, Markets, and Governance
ISSN (Print)2520-8772
ISSN (Electronic)2520-8780


Conference17th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility and 8th Organisational Governance Conference


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