Linking the Social Performance of Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) with Poverty Alleviation
Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) represent one of the leading forms of Social Enterprises in Europe, and an emblematic scheme in the wider field of Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship. In the European Union, the risk of poverty or social exclusion is determined by a combination of three key indicators: Monetary Poverty, Severe Material Deprivation and Low Work Intensity.
Empirical research supports the positive effect of Economic Productivity, and Social Imprinting (the founding team’s emphasis on fulfilling the organization’s social mission), on the Social Performance of WISEs. In this study the concept of Social Imprinting was adapted to the Greek context and a new driver of the WISE’s Social Performance was proposed. The new driver is the Open Market Resources Analogy (O.M.R.A.) defined as the ratio of the annual monetary resources of the WISE derived from the sale of goods and/or the provision of services in the open market (not under contract to public authorities i.e. public procurements) on the total annual monetary resources of the WISE.
Purpose and objective:
The performance of WISEs in tackling poverty was measured by three variables: 1. The percentage of people working in the business activities of the WISE with total net annual earnings above the poverty line for a single-person household (over 4,917.00€) on the total number of people working in the business activities of the WISE, 2. The percentage of people working in the business activities of the WISE with a number of working hours sufficient to keep them above the concept of low work intensity for a single-person household (above 422 hours per year) on the total number of people working in the business activities of the WISE and 3. The percentage of people who received vocational training and/or consulting from the WISE and were placed in jobs outside the WISE, on all persons who have received vocational training and/or consulting from the WISE.
Research method and material:
Using a semi-structured questionnaire and with a response rate of 62.50%, data were collected for the financial years 2018, 2019 and 2020 from 51.47% of the population of WISEs in Greece, i.e. the total of Limited Liability Social Cooperatives (LLSC) and Social Cooperative Integration Enterprises (SCIE).
Assumptions of ordinal regression were checked, and Ordinal Regression Models were developed based on which hypotheses were tested. Economic Productivity, Open Market Resources Analogy and Social Imprinting had a significant positive effect on the Social Performance of WISEs against Monetary Poverty. Economic Productivity and Social Imprinting had no significant effect on Social Performance against Low Work Intensity, but Open Market Resources Analogy had a significant positive effect on the Level of Social Performance against Low Work Intensity. Finally, the two institutionalized forms of WISEs in Greece, LLSC which can be characterized as the child of the Third Sector and SCIE that expresses the Emergence of Social Entrepreneurs, had almost identical performance both against Monetary Poverty and against Low Work Intensity.
Discussion and Conclusions:
The proposed new driver of the WISE’s Social Performance, the Open Market Resources Analogy (O.M.R.A.), is the most important determinant of the WISES’s performance in tackling monetary poverty and low work intensity, as it has a strong positive effect on the creation of job positions that are closer to full-time and are fairly well paid.