To profit or not to profit? That is the wrong question

MCCULLOCH, Maureen and RIDLEY-DUFF, Rory (2019). To profit or not to profit? That is the wrong question. In: 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, Sheffield, 24-27 Jun 2019., EMES International Research Network.

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In social economy research, the issue of ‘profit’ (whether to make and/or distribute it) is a dominant framing concept. We argue that this dominance (even negatively referenced) maintains the hegemony of financial capital and the ‘for-profit’ paradigm. By refusing to accept a definition that labels organisations in terms of what they are not, scholars of co-operative development, social enterprise and voluntary action can better understand the value-creating activities of third sector organisations (TSOs) on their own terms. We argue that scholars and policy makers are complicit in maintaining the dominance of financial capital and the for-profit paradigm when they adopt for-profit/non-profit language in debates about their field. The counter-narrative we offer is based on engagement with work from the International Integrated Reporting Council (IRC) and FairShares Association (FSA). By comparing six capitals defined by the IIRC with the FSA’s statement on ‘six forms of wealth’, we offer a new way to account for the wealth creation of co-operatives, (other) social enterprises and voluntary associations. This ‘for-purpose’ framework for TSOs “reclaims the conversation” by identifying the wealth creation of social enterprises in comparison with the wealth destruction of private companies locked into chrematistic accounting and reporting practices which focus on the pursuit of profit for its own sake. This allows the fundamental differences between for-purpose enterprises (primarily social) and not-for-purpose businesses (primarily financial) to be clearly articulated.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 13:09
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:16

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