Social Enterprise Models in Austria

  • Cooperation-project
  • International and national basis
  • Period: 2013-2016
  • Method: Literature-analysis; expert interviews; group-discussions
  • Project-partner: Dr. Richard Lang (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz) Prof. Jacques Defourny (University of Liege); Prof. Marthe Nyssens (Catholic University of Louvain)


Social Enterprises can broadly be defined as organisations which combine an entrepreneurial approach to provide services or goods with a primacy of social aims. Social Enterprises have received increasing attention by practitioners, academics and governments and are discussed as a promising tool to deal with current economic, social and environmental challenges. Contrary to the increasing relevance of the Social Enterprise phenomenon internationally, the research on this topic is underdeveloped in Austria and influenced by different disciplinary schools. Therefore the project aims to develop an overall understanding of Social Enterprise models in Austria and to disseminate it internationally. The main objective is to explore the historical, contextual and conceptual issues about the emergence of the Social Enterprise phenomenon in Austria. Furthermore, the project aims at identifying and characterising various fields of Social Enterprise activity in Austria by their social mission, target groups, public or private supports, operational and governance models, stakeholders, etc. Empirically it is based on a mixed method approach, including literature-analyses, qualitative expert interviews and group discussions. Further it is part of a broader study on “International Comparative Social Enterprise Models (ICSEM)” in partnership with the IAP and EMES European Research Network, which aims at comparing social enterprise models and their respective institutionalisation processes across the world. Thus, it relies on the participation of a large number of researchers from all regions who contribute country-specific or field-specific analysis of social enterprise models. Currently, over 200 researchers from some 50 countries are involved. The ICSEM Project is jointly coordinated by Jacques Defourny (University of Liege) and Marthe Nyssens (Catholic University of Louvain).

Download: Working paper




for the research award of the provincial government of Sytria 2017


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New publication
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Work Integration Social Enterprises in Austria. Characteristics, Evolution and Perspectives.

Nonprofit Policy Forum. Special Issue on WISEs (DOI 10.1515/npf-2016-0008)

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