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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Exploring how professional leaders in social enterprises develop their leadership practices
Author(s): Hepburn, Jacqueline Hepburn
Supervisor(s): Simmons, Richard
Thompson, Terrie-Lynn
Keywords: Leadership
Actor Network Theory
Social Enterprise
Practice Theory
Issue Date: 16-Dec-2022
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the practices enacted by leaders in a case study social enterprise in Scotland. The study investigates the complex issues involved in social enterprise as leaders navigate uncertainty caused, for example, by changes to government policy, funding decisions and external events, all of which can have a material and lasting impact. It explores a different way to think about leadership in social enterprise through considering leadership as practice-based to take into account the heterogeneous actors that enact practice. The study considered a social enterprise in Scotland due to its particular policy and political context as this drives policy and funding priorities. The data collection was undertaken over a six-month period and involved one social enterprise who is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. A qualitative ethnographic approach was adopted, which provided an inductive approach to the research, allowing the findings to emerge as the research unfolded. Methods included observations, semi-structured interviews and document analysis. The collected data were analysed using Actor Network Theory (ANT) and thematic analysis. There were six participants involved in the study. Analysis of the data identified four leadership practices. First, practices enacted by leaders as they sought to mobilise, manage and deliver funded projects were identified. Second, practices performed by leaders on delivering through networks. Third, practices enacted by leaders on leading and governing effectively. Finally, practices enacted by leaders through stakeholder advocacy to deliver the social mission. The thesis contributes to the knowledge in the social enterprise sector as it provides new insights into leadership in social enterprises through the use of ANT concepts and methods and combines this with more traditional thematic analysis. This adds to the discourse and challenges in current thinking on the practices that leaders require to lead a sustainable social enterprise in Scotland. The originality of the research is in the unfolding of alternative perspectives with which to better understand the complexity and messiness of this diverse field of study. It also serves to foster further discussion of social enterprise as materially mediated and socially constructed assemblages of practices.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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