Social enterprise: fact or fiction?

Summary:Do you think the social enterprise is real or a fiction? Regardless of your position this will be a fun debate.

Next Tuesday, Dion Hinchcliffe and I will live debate: Social enterprise: fact or fiction? Guess which side I'm on?

Here is my opening salvo position:

The notion of a social enterprise is at best laughable and at worst ridiculous. Enterprises are artificial constructs designed with one purpose - the creation of wealth for the benefit of shareholders. The fact that such enterprises may employ people doesn't distract from the primary purpose. That's why we have hierarchies, rules, command and control. They serve to constrain people into behaving rationally and only for the benefit of the enterprise. Some argue that the very fact enterprises require people makes them social. That is a logical fallacy. The notion of a social enterprise is merely the latest in a long line of fashion driven management constructs designed to make employees believe that the enterprise cares. Which of course it doesn't. Instead it wants to suck more out of its employees. That's anti-social and makes the whole notion of a social enterprise impossible to achieve.

Remember this is a debate and not necessarily what I believe should be the endstate for any enterprise.

I'm sure Dion will regale us with wonderful tales of success. I have a few grenades of my own to lob into the discussion ring.

The debate page is live now but the opening statements won't be live on that page until Monday. Add it to your calendar. It will be a fun time.

PS - the party has already started over here

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Dennis Howlett has been providing comment and analysis on enterprise software since 1991 in a variety of European trade and professional journals including CFO Magazine, The Economist and Information Week. Today, apart from being a full time blogger on innovation for professional services organisations, he is a founding member of Enterpri... Full Bio

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