Chapter 6: Sustaining the stakeholder engagement in the social enterprise: the human resource architecture
In many approaches to social enterprise, research focuses on strategic and entrepreneurial issues. We turn the tables and we adopt the organizational theory perspective to suggest the design and the implementation of the human resource management (HRM) practices to engage the different types of stakeholders in the social enterprise domain. Combining the stakeholder relationship approach and the social exchange theory, we propose a stakeholder configuration model for the social enterprise domain. Our discussion enables us to identify four different kinds of organization–stakeholder relationships, characterized by different types of stakeholder engagement; the first three kinds refer to the links with the actual stakeholders; the last one is about the possible future stakeholder liaisons. Each kind of relationship advocates a specific bundle of HRM practices to sustain the specific engagement types. An exemplary case study gives preliminary confirmation to, and explains, our theoretical model. The research is based on the study of an emblematic Italian social enterprise, the Cometa Foundation, operating in the area of care, support and education of disadvantaged children and young people. Cometa is well known in Italy as one of the emerging and most successful organizations in the field and it is receiving more and more attention from public opinion and government.
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