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An Exploratory Study on Outcomes of Social Enterprises in South Africa

Boris Urban ()
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Boris Urban: Graduate School of Management Administration, University of the Witwatersrand, 2 St David’s Place, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa

Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), 2015, vol. 23, issue 02, 271-297

Abstract: This article investigates social enterprises in terms of their outcomes. Few studies focus on social entrepreneurs that incorporate an impact assessment of their social enterprises. The article responds to calls where it has been noted that the rapidly expanding social enterprise sector of the economy is evolving without effective evaluation tools that can provide reliable measurement and impact assessment.The study is conducted in two major cities in South Africa, where social entrepreneurship has unequivocal application, considering that traditional government initiatives are unable to satisfy the entire social deficit, and where challenges to non-profit accountability are acute. Social outcomes are measured in terms of the following dimensions: impact/reach, innovativeness of solution, replicability/expandability and sustainability. A survey is used to collect data from 165 social enterprises and is interpreted using descriptive statistics.Results on sample characteristics indicate that a diverse group of individuals are involved in a wide range of social enterprise activities. Descriptive statistics across the dimensions reflect above-average mean scores suggesting favourable perceptions of social outcomes.By providing an elementary measuring tool for social outcomes, researchers can test its validity across different contexts. Social enterprises need to demonstrate solid impact and reach of their outcomes, so they can replicate interventions, build partnerships, and remain sustainable by meeting the needs of groups who have been failed by previous government attempts in social redress.The article provides a much needed account of the evaluation of social enterprise outcomes in an emerging market context.

Keywords: Social enterprises; social outcomes; impact; reach; innovation; sustainability; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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