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Working paper

Dependent and Independent social enterprises: a comparative study of organizations in international perspective

The paper is dedicated to organizational dependence – independence of social enterprises (SEs) taking into account their multifaceted nature and complex business models shaping in line with the task of solving social problems at the crossroads of market, not-for-profit activity and state regulation. The paper is aimed at theoretical and empirical clarification of organizational nature of SEs on the basis of the international comparative study. We aimed to clarify the following issues: - To what extent the SEs in different countries (macro-regions) are oriented to the distinct forms of partnerships and do any of them have special bias to the state? - What factors play the main role in the character of a SE partnership (interactions) with stakeholders? - Do partnership forms relate to the level of independence of a SE from some bigger organizations or from the state? - Can we say that “independence” is most likely a characteristics of predominantly market oriented SEs (in terms of business model choice)? As the sampling frame of the survey we used the database of the fellows of Ashoka International network — the largest organization supported the leaders of social entrepreneurship worldwide. Respondents filled online a formalized questionnaire with 76 questions, and for the period from May through November, 2012 we received 128 questionnaires from 38 countries worldwide filled in English or Spanish. The subject of the research is social and economic activity of the SEs including strategy formation, assessment of condition of the target social groups, fundraising, partnership with other organizations, interactions with local and central governments, social, economic and institutional barriers of organizational activity. The data were processed with a SPSS package.