Krzhizhanovskogo Street, 24/35, korpus 5, 117218, Moscow, Russia
Tel.: +7 (499) 128-85-19
Fax: +7 (495) 719-07-40
Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
So far there have been very few studies of social entrepreneurship in Russia. More specifically, the social implications of this phenomenon have never been analyzed. This makes it difficult for experts to agree which particular enterprises could be described as social. In the meanwhile, agreement on this matter is absolutely necessary, since financial support projects, such as grants or preferential loans, need clearly defined criteria. This article singles out two key features of a social enterprise: innovation and social character. Innovation in this context implies not only the use of groundbreaking business ideas and the introduction of technical, technological, or management know-how, but also the transformation of rules and practices that govern the lifestyle of the social group involved in the enterprise’s operations. The social character of the enterprise is determined by the following: first of all, an enterprise must have its own social and cultural project, i.e. a business strategy that is aimed at meeting a certain social goal. On the one hand, it means that the enterprise is basing its development on the creative potential of its employees as the main driver of its growth and competitiveness. On the other hand, it also means that the enterprise is striving to carry out a certain mission, and has created a new system of values and a new communication environment, by promoting new ways of working together and rendering social services. We can distinguish several different types of these social projects. Secondly, a social enterprise must have a cultural concept of interacting with its personnel. We classify these concepts depending on whether the employers base their recruitment choices on operational functions or give greater priority to an employee as a person, gearing the function to his or her capabilities and interests. And thirdly, a social enterprise must be involved in social networking. This article describes the networks that surround a social enterprise. The study helps us arrive at the conclusion that a cooperative strategy involves networking capitalization – i.e. the use of the partner’s capabilities to meet the enterprise’s goals, in a way that allows the partner to benefit as well.
social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, innovativeness, social and cultural project, community, cooperation, ethics.