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Playing with numbers: a methodological critique of the Social Enterprise Growth myth

Teasdale, Simon and Lyon, F and Baldrock, R (2013) Playing with numbers: a methodological critique of the Social Enterprise Growth myth. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. pp. 1-19. ISSN 1942-0676

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19420676.2012.762800

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1080/19420676.2012.762800

Social enterprise is a contested concept which has become a site for policy intervention in many countries. In the UK the government has invested significant resources into social enterprise infrastructure, partly to increase the capacity of social enterprises to deliver or replace public services. Government publications show the number of social enterprises to have increased from 5,300 to 62,000 over a five-year period. This paper explores the myth of social enterprise growth in the UK through a methodological critique of the four government data sources used to construct and legitimise this myth. Particular attention is paid to how political decisions influence the construction of evidence. We find that growth is mainly attributable to political decisions to reinterpret key elements of the social enterprise definition and to include new organisational types in sampling frames.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2013 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Third Sector Research Centre
Subjects:HA Statistics
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Taylor and Francis
ID Code:1346
Refereed:YES
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