Paper Title

Creating an Institutional Field for Social Enterprise

Location

University of Washington Tacoma, Philip Hall

Event Website

http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/clsr/academic-conference

Start Date

12-7-2013 2:00 PM

End Date

12-7-2013 3:00 PM

Description

Despite increased expectations that businesses will attend to the social good, many of the systems and mechanisms that support the creation and growth of small businesses remain oriented toward the profit motive. Thus social enterprises are operating in a nascent institutional field, one where old institutional arrangements are still powerful and new collective arrangements are not yet fully formed or shared. Construction of an institutional field requires the development of a “community of organizations that partakes of a common meaning system and whose participants interact more frequently and fatefully with one another than with actors outside the field” (Scott, 1995: 56). However, little research addresses the mechanisms by which fields form and the nature of the interactions among (potential) field members (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008).

In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for investigating the mechanisms and processes underlying field formation. Noting that field dynamics play out in local settings, we examine the activities of entrepreneurial actors who are involved in developing and supporting social enterprises in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. We begin by outlining the conceptual frameworks that guide our data collection and theory development. Next we describe our methods and analysis techniques. We conclude by offering insights into how fields form with a focus on interactions, conflicts and collaborations among a variety of potential field members.

Comments

Presenters have elected not to include the text of their paper in these electronic proceedings.

Authors

Tracy Thompson, Jill Purdy, William Kaghan
Milgard School of Business
University of Washington, Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street, Box 358420
Tacoma, WA 98402
USA

Marc Ventresca
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street
Oxford OX1 1HP UK
England

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Jul 12th, 2:00 PM Jul 12th, 3:00 PM

Creating an Institutional Field for Social Enterprise

University of Washington Tacoma, Philip Hall

Despite increased expectations that businesses will attend to the social good, many of the systems and mechanisms that support the creation and growth of small businesses remain oriented toward the profit motive. Thus social enterprises are operating in a nascent institutional field, one where old institutional arrangements are still powerful and new collective arrangements are not yet fully formed or shared. Construction of an institutional field requires the development of a “community of organizations that partakes of a common meaning system and whose participants interact more frequently and fatefully with one another than with actors outside the field” (Scott, 1995: 56). However, little research addresses the mechanisms by which fields form and the nature of the interactions among (potential) field members (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008).

In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for investigating the mechanisms and processes underlying field formation. Noting that field dynamics play out in local settings, we examine the activities of entrepreneurial actors who are involved in developing and supporting social enterprises in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. We begin by outlining the conceptual frameworks that guide our data collection and theory development. Next we describe our methods and analysis techniques. We conclude by offering insights into how fields form with a focus on interactions, conflicts and collaborations among a variety of potential field members.

http://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/clsr_academic/2013/pres/8