Communitarian governance in social enterprises: case evidence from the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation and School Trends Ltd
- Publisher: Emerald
Purpose: Prevailing concepts of corporate governance that are based on external shareholder interests have been challenged by a number of authors over the last three decades. In this paper, the core assumptions of communitarian philosophy and values are outlined, together with the way writers imagine these might be enacted in a social enterprise context. These assumptions are then explored using two case studies. <p></p>\ud Design/Methodology: The study was conducted using participatory action research which involves parties examining current actions together and seeking to improve on them. The value of this approach is based on the plausible, authentic and critical insights it generates into management practice.<p></p>\ud Findings: Case evidence suggests that companies are able to adopt and operate effectively while deploying communitarian values, and that these values lead to alternative business objectives expressed through new forms of corporate governance. Nevertheless, the adopting of common language does not necessarily mean that social enterprises share a common philosophy.<p></p>\ud Originality/Value: The key contribution of this paper is to evaluate the institutionalisation of governance and consider the relationship between the form and substance of practice. By considering the link between words and actions, the study concludes that the adoption of a governance framework, or particular language, matters less than the capacity of company members to participate in the development of governance norms that enable them to act congruently with their own beliefs and values.