Organizational form and pro-social fantasy in social enterprise creation
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Kenny, K., Haugh, H., & Fotaki, M. (2020). Organizational form and pro-social fantasy in social enterprise creation. Human Relations, 73 (1), 94-123. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726718821413
Why do social entrepreneurs retain their faith in social entrepreneurship despite the organizational tensions and anxieties inherent to this field of practice? In this paper we employ the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy to advance knowledge on social enterprise creation. The research analyses qualitative data relating to the adoption of the Community Interest Company, a bespoke organizational form for social enterprise. We argue that social entrepreneurs adopt a specific organizational form because it represents a fantasmatic object that supports their desire for pro-social work. This fantasmatic form appears to temporarily neutralize tensions and anxieties while preserving attachments to pro-social ideals. Our first contribution is to extant research on the role of fantasy in social enterprise. Specifically we elucidate how social enterprise creation is riven with fantasy-laden attachments to ideals of pro-social work that promise to counteract concerns about future viability as well as competing social and for-profit missions. Our second contribution is to highlight the role that organizational form choice plays in effectively managing such tensions and anxieties as it provides a robust anchor for pro-social desires. Fantasmatic attachments to pro-social work and organizational form thus emerge as integral to social enterprise creation.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726718821413
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/288284