Handbook of Research on Social Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Social Entrepreneurship

Edited by Alain Fayolle and Harry Matlay

This timely Handbook provides an empirically rigorous overview of the latest research advances on social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs and enterprises. It incorporates seventeen original chapters on definitions, concepts, contexts and strategy, including a critical overview and an agenda for future research in social entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 6: Social Entrepreneurship in France: Organizational and Relational Issues

Martine Hlady Rispal and Jerome Boncler


Martine Hlady Rispal and Jerome Boncler French social entrepreneurship has developed since the 1980s in the form of work-integration social enterprise (WISE), home daycare, home helps and kitchen gardens. Its specific vocation is to build and consolidate local communities as it creates a significant number of new jobs. These enterprises belong to the social economy because they base business activity on the principle of mutual welfare in order to restructure the economic, political and social dynamics of a community (Laville, 1995). This article focuses on social enterprises that balance income generation against stated social objectives. Economists, sociologists and political scientists have researched this topic. First, economists dissected its unique organizational features from a socio-economic perspective. They studied and pondered the economic utility of social enterprise, measured its tangible and intangible added value and examined how business operations dovetailed into one another (Vienney, 1980; Archambault, 1996). Long-term unemployment and homelessness then led sociologists and political scientists such as Laville (2000) to conclude that welfare agencies and social policy had become ‘subsystems of the market economy or of public services which took no account of the emerging welfare needs of marginalized populations’ (Demoustier, 2001: 114). This drew their attention to the workings of this social economy. Then management scientists began looking at how the theories of profitdriven enterprise applied to social enterprise (Le Duff, 1992; Meunier, 1992). More recent research viewed the social economy from a purely entrepreneurial angle (Boncler and Hlady Rispal, 2003; Schieb-Bienfait and Urbain, 2004). This chapter moves on...

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