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Title: Social enterprises in Palestine: a critical analysis
Authors: Akella, Devi 
Eid, Niveen Labib 
Keywords: Institutional theory;Organizational sociology - Palestine;Social enterprises - Palestine;Business enterprises - Palestine;Critical perspective
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Journal of Enterprising Communities
Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to critically examine the concept of social enterprises in Palestine. It uses the lens of institutional theory to understand how the political and economic context of the society can influence certain types of entrepreneurial behaviors and be responsible for the emergence of social enterprises. The paper uses a critical perspective to deconstruct social enterprises in Palestine to shed light on reasons for their emergence, motives and agendas. Design/methodology/approach – A case study design was used to examine the phenomenon of social enterprises. The case study method is valuable in describing the how and why issues of a phenomenon in the present time frame. Two leading social enterprises operating within the Palestinian region were identified. The two enterprises were contacted for a series of interviews (over a period of few months) with their owners and other active members. Findings – The empirical findings suggest that social enterprise model is still in its embryonic stages in Palestine. Their social mission of community development and sustainability is not completely sincere. The social entrepreneurs were willing to compromise social mission for economic surplus. The national structure, political framework, legal environment, social, cultural and the economic conditions of Palestine have served as suitable launching pads for social enterprises with not so authentic mission of serving the society. It has encouraged entrepreneurial philosophy and behavior, which has masked hidden economic and political agendas with exterior goals of social welfare and community development. Research limitations/implications – This paper adopts a critical perspective and a qualitative methodology, and this raises the concern if the arguments pertaining to social enterprise raised in this paper can sustain in a developed nation with a stabilized political scenario or whether this alternative ideology is only relevant to underdeveloped countries with unstable, political conditions, such as Palestine. Practical implications – This paper provides relevant information for students, critical academics and policymakers. Social implications – The paper argues for a more concise definition for the model of social enterprises. It argues for clear legal guidelines which could monitor the formation of social enterprises in Palestine. Originality/value – This paper provides an alternative perspective on social enterprises within a constrained and political unstable economy of Palestine.
DOI: 10.1108/JEC-01-2017-0010
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