Between ‘staying alternative’ and ‘going mainstream’ …
Audebrand, L. (2017). Expanding the scope of paradox scholarship on social enterprise: the case for (re)introducing worker cooperatives. M@n@gement, vol. 20,(4), 368-393. doi:10.3917/mana.204.0368.
Abstract. Over the past decade, scholars have argued for using a paradox
perspective as a provocative and insightful lens for understanding social
enterprises. This article addresses two gaps in this burgeoning literature.
First, it expands the focus on social enterprises to include worker
cooperatives, which are often overlooked but are highly relevant to this
area of study. Worker cooperatives are unique among social enterprises
due to their foundational principles: worker-ownership, worker-control and
worker-beneﬁt. Due to their dual nature as both a democratic association
and an economic enterprise, the relationship between the cooperative’s
social mission and its business venture is mutually constitutive and
inescapable. Second, this article calls for paradox scholarship on social
enterprise to include the study of paradoxical tensions other than the
conspicuous tension between ﬁnancial and social performance. This article
suggests broadening this focus to include the tensions between
communality and individuality, hierarchy and democracy, and between
‘staying alternative’ and ‘going mainstream’. Overall, this article seeks to
construct a stronger theoretical basis on which to build future paradox
research on alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm.