SE models & institutionalisation processes / ICSEM

  • Coordinator: Jacques Defourny

    Partners: Marthe Nyssens, Benjamin Huybrechts, Dennis Young, Carlo Borzaga and Kai Hockerts

    The fifth Thematic Line of the SOCENT Project originally included two sub-themes:


    The International Comparative Social Enterprise Models—ICSEM—Project, launched in partnership with EMES within this Thematic Line, was thus originally intended as one of the two sub-themes of TL 5. However, this Project rapidly underwent a growth that went well beyond its Coordinators’ original expectations—to such an extent that, at the end of 2014, it was decided to merge the two sub-themes, so that the 5th Thematic Line now corresponds to the sole ICSEM Project (which includes a dimension on social enterprise institutionalisation processes).

    One of the specific features of the ICSEM Project is its geographic coverage: it aims to compare social enterprise models and their respective institutionalisation processes across the world. It thus relies on the participation, on a voluntary basis, of a large number of researchers from all regions, who contribute country-specific or field-specific analyses of social enterprise models.

    First, social enterprise models will be identified and compared in different countries, testing the influence of a set of cultural, economic and socio-political factors (with a special attention to public policies) through comparative country studies. Then, the institutionalisation of the social enterprise models will be examined. Such an exercise will address both macro, structural factors and endogenous strategies through which social enterprises, as "institutional entrepreneurs", participate in shaping public policies and broader institutional arrangements in a way that legitimizes their specific models. This sub-theme not only aims to apply extant theory to the case of social enterprise but also to contribute to theoretical development through examining the role of social enterprises, as innovative organisation models, in shaping broader field- and society-level institutional arrangements.