Social innovation, co-operation and competition: inter-organisational relations for social enterprises in the delivery of public services

Working Paper 114 - November 2013

There is much rhetoric concerning the need for collaboration and partnership both from policy makers and those within the sector who see the social enterprise model as being more collaborative than the private sector. However, there is limited understanding of the processes by which trust is built up and maintained in these contexts.

This paper examines the relationships between commissioners and providers, users/beneficiaries/customers (vertical relationships) and relationships between providers (horizontal relationships). The paper will go beyond assumptions concerning how organisations are expected to behave, and will examine the economic and social institutional contexts in which their actions are embedded. In particular attention will be given to how organisations build relationships in ‘quasi markets’ and in an environment of emerging competition for the delivery of public services. These issues are explored by looking at the case of self-employment support provision in the UK.

Research contacts:
Ian Vickers and Fergus Lyon