The Social Enterprise Zoo
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The Social Enterprise Zoo

A Guide for Perplexed Scholars, Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, Leaders, Investors, and Policymakers

Edited by Dennis R. Young, Elizabeth A.M. Searing and Cassady V. Brewer

The Social Enterprise Zoo employs the metaphor of the zoo to gain a more comprehensive understanding of social enterprise – especially the diversity of its forms; the various ways it is organized in different socio-political environments; how different forms of enterprise behave, interact, and thrive; and what lessons can be drawn for the future development and study of organizations that seek to balance social or environmental impact with economic success. Recommended for students, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and managers of social purpose organizations.
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Chapter 9: Governing the zoo

Francesca Calò and Simon Teasdale


In this chapter we examine the alternative approaches to governing the zoo in Italy and England – two countries with long traditions of state support for social enterprise. Italy is widely credited with developing the concept of social enterprise, and was one of the first countries in the world to develop a specific legal form for social enterprise through the social cooperative, while England has arguably the most developed state support apparatus for social enterprise. Despite different political starting points, and different approaches to governing the zoo, both Italy and England appear to be converging towards a governance model whereby organizational form is downplayed in favor of more instrumental approaches in which political support is provided to any organization or activity that can contribute towards policy goals. This promises a social enterprise zoo with greater biodiversity in both countries.

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