Miri, Domnan F. (2019) Influence of Institutional Environment and the Development of Social Enterprises in Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The concepts and models of social enterprise worldwide are increasingly attracting academic interests. The different typologies of explaining social enterprise are often attributed to the contextual development of the phenomenon. The organisational orientation towards resolution of social problems that are locally embedded in different environment necessitates empirical and contextual insights. While current research appears to focus on the influence of institutional (economic, legal, cultural, social) differences on social enterprises in some developed and emerging environments, there is lack of understanding of how the institutional factors, challenges, motivators and barriers influence empirical elucidations of social enterprises in developing countries. This study draws on neo-institutional standpoint to advance the understanding of how institutional arrangements (regulations, public policies, laws, socio-cultural understandings and processes) influence the conception and development of social enterprise in Nigeria. It is posited that Nigerian context presents an environment with weak formal institutional arrangements supporting social enterprises.

his study adopted a qualitative research method to explore the influences of the institutional environmental factors on the development of social enterprises in Nigeria. The study sample included 31 social enterprises. Thirty-one interviews were conducted with Social Entrepreneurs in addition to two interviews with Regulatory Agency Executives in Nigeria. The study findings reveal that culture and religion plays an important role for the nature and character of social enterprises, while noting the key role military rule played in creating institutional apathy.Interestingly, the role of the nascent democracy and personal experiences (affliction and knowledge) of social entrepreneurs were key motivators engendering social consciousness and advocacy for civic reorientation and positive goals that create social and economic benefit to society. The absence of a coherent institutional delineation, structure, support, knowledge and regulatory framework for social enterprise are key findings emanating. Moreover, it is found that with increasing awareness of dwindling grant funding and need for multiple bottom line organisational goal, social enterprise are developing their commercial dimension, which is key to their sustainability. Still, results reinforce the primacy of social dimension to the conception which were focused on providing social and economic inclusion within the Nigerian environment. This study provides empirical insights that can help frame future research directions and provide a comparison across environments or done in another developing context. Within the understudied context, further research should focus on how social dimension/values are superseded by the needed to develop income generating component (economic dimension/values)and the tensions between both logics. Finally, an in-depth study of the legal frameworks in which social enterprises operate within the environment and its influence on the practice of the conception will strengthen understanding and ensure a more coherent mapping of the field of study.

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