Nature or nurture? Caring social enterprises managing their unique workforce

Dorothea Roumbi, Solon Magrizos, Katerina Nicolopoulou

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Despite the long history of social enterprises (SEs), their significant economic and social impact, only recently have they attracted the interest of researchers, media, and the public. This paper sheds light in one of the most overlooked aspects of their business model: their workforce and its effective management through human resource management (HRM) practices. Given the limited extant research, we utilize an exploratory quantitative approach in order to gain insights regarding the nature and the characteristic of the workforce, the HRM-related challenges, and the effective HRM practices within the context of the third sector. The analysis of our in-depth interviews with the CEOs/founders or HR managers of 20 social enterprises based in the United Kingdom resulted in some interesting findings that contradict, to some extent, the existing research. Our findings indicate a much more limited use of volunteers, an increased likelihood of employing disempowered employees (not only among work integration SEs), the utilization of some rather sophisticated HRM practices (e.g., job realistic previews), and the use of differentiated HRM practices (differences in the levels of compensation competitiveness among various workforce groups).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017
EventThe 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017


ConferenceThe 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA


  • social enterprises
  • social entrepreneurs
  • human resource management


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