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Navigating network governance: the role of social enterprise in local employment services

Neoliberalisation of welfare has stimulated growth of hybrid organizational forms – including social enterprises – that bridge welfare objectives and market models of service provision. However, the role of social enterprises in governance networks remains underexplored. Drawing on a comparative case analysis of four work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in Australia, this paper examines how WISE operate within local employment services systems and labour markets. We find WISEs both attract non-traditional resources and generate social value in new ways as an effect of their hybrid organizational arrangements. However, their effectiveness is constrained by lack of legitimacy within supralocal governance systems.

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