Developing a Social Enterprise
: An Investigation of Promoters and Barriers

  • Artur Steinerowski

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


Social enterprise is increasingly discussed in policy documents and academic literature, but there is poor understanding of how social enterprise organisations emerge and develop. A goal of this PhD study was to understand the emergence and nature of social
enterprise, the promoters and barriers to its development in a specific context of the
remote and rural North of Scotland and to investigate the extent to which social
enterprise was being considered for health and care service provision. Giddens’ (1984)
structuration theory provided a theoretical orientation for the work, facilitating analysis of relations between agents and structure.
A qualitative approach to data collection was adopted. Views and perspectives from
different social enterprise stakeholders were elicited. In the first stage of the study,
thirty five individual in-depth face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted; these were verified, confirmed and extended in the second stage of the study through three focus group discussions.
The study contributes new knowledge around promoters and barriers to social
enterprise, considering this from both theoretical and practice-oriented perspectives.
These provide information to help those developing social enterprises. The study is
important in the growing field of social enterprise literature as it adds another
dimension of analysis; that is, findings are viewed through the analytical lens of
structuration theory creating a different way of thinking about how social enterprises
have emerged and the ideas have become fashionable. This element particularly looks
at social enterprise from the perspective of different groups of agents to build
understanding, exploring their influence in social enterprise development. The study
also described the different roles of different types of agents and indicated suggestions regarding changes required in order to further develop the social enterprise sector.
Date of Award25 Nov 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SponsorsUHI Studentship
SupervisorJane Farmer (Supervisor) & Sarah Jack (Supervisor)

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