A Matter of Context? Understanding Social Enterprises in Changing Environments: The Case of Germany
Annette Zimmer and Katharina Obuch - WWU Muenster
Abstract: Questioning the popular point-blank juxtaposition of “new social enterprises” and “old providers” of social services, the paper argues that contingency is an important feature of any organizational setting. Drawing on the case of Germany, it suggests a time-contingent typology of social enterprises covering the roots of social entrepreneurship in the nineteenth century over the rise of the Free Welfare Associations up to the often highlighted “new generation” of social entrepreneurs. Against this background, today’s social enterprises appear to be less novel and unique but again a time-contingent outcome of an adjustment to a zeitgeist-specific governance arrangement.