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The ‘protective function’ of social enterprises: understanding the renewal of multiple sets of motivations

Ermanno Tortia (), Silvia Sacchetti () and Vladislav Valentinov

Review of Social Economy, 2020, vol. 78, issue 3, 373-410

Abstract: We study the problem of the renewal of workers’ intrinsic and pro-social motivations in democratic work settings, as found in Italian social enterprises, organizations in the social economy that deliver social and welfare services. Building upon institutional, system, and management theory we hypothesize that social enterprises value and protect pro-social motivations as crucial resources. Specifically, hypothesis-testing examines the effect of the work relational context and of job satisfaction on the renewal of self-esteem intrinsic motivations and pro-social motivations. Our sample includes 320 social enterprises matched with 4134 paid workers. The results of categorical principal components analysis, OLS regression and structural equation modelling show that worker wellbeing (substantive and formal satisfaction) mediates the relation between the relational context (collaborative teamwork and fairness, both procedural and interactional) and the renewal of self-esteem and pro-social motivations.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2020.1744702

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