Contextualising social enterprise : hybrid entrepreneuring in the creative industries

  • Jaleesa Renee Wells

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Social enterprise provides a foundation for community-based organisations that aim to address local and societal issues through mission-centred and income-generating activities. Theoretical interest in social enterprise continues to grow across many fields of academic inquiry, including within entrepreneurship. In practice, social enterprise has also emerged, with some abundance, within bordering economic sectors, such as the creative industries. However, despite this intersectoral rise, there is a gap in knowledge around the emergence of a creative social enterprise (CSE) phenomenon. The thesis explores the hybrid space between social enterprise and the creative industries in the Scottish landscape and focuses on the emergence of hybrid entrepreneuring within the creative industries, as experienced by creative practitioners building creative social enterprises. This study seeks to explore the landscape of Scotland's creative social enterprises and investigate how they utilise hybridity to navigate the marginal position between the two institutional and economic fields. The research aims involve exploring the impact of creative social enterprise on those practitioners who create them; identifying how CSEs develop strategies;understanding how CSEs engage in their broader networks and environments;investigating the institutional environments affecting the emergence of creative socialenterprises; and discovering the experiences of creative practitioners and their processes of engagement with their hybrid contexts. The creative industries and social enterprise sectors are essential to the growth of Scotland's economy (CreativeScotland, 2016a; Scottish Government, 2016b; Skills Development Scotland, 2015; Social Value Lab, 2017; The Scottish Government, 2015), though, conventionally, they are considered as separate sectors. The thesis draws from sociological studies of entrepreneurship (Granovetter, 1985; Thornton, 1999) to develop the theoretical and contextual landscape of the study around a hybrid institutional context. The context also builds on prior studies of hybridity (Battilana and Dorado, 2010; Doherty et al., 2014; Rushton, 2014; Santos et al., 2015) as a critical domain for exploring the phenomenon of CSEs. An embedded, social constructionist approach is employed for understanding the phenomenological experiences of creative practitioners developing social enterprises. The approach involves the use of a reflexive methodology, which embraces the embedded nature of the research journey and encourages a co-creative research process between researcher and participants. Key findings position hybrid entrepreneurial practice as a viable way for creative practitioners to build their social enterprises at the margins of institutional contexts and identify hybrid entrepreneuring as a primary resource in navigating behaviours to generate an interflow of hybrid value-actors within a hybrid organisation. The research study provides value to the field of entrepreneurship by elucidating the experiences of alternative types of entrepreneurial activity within a hybrid institutional context, which has implications for how industry practitioners understand their organisational processes and how institutional stakeholders may engage in the development of new organisational structures.
Date of Award13 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorEleanor Shaw (Supervisor) & Sarah Drakopoulou Dodd (Supervisor)

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