Social Enterprise in Switzerland: The Field of Work Integration

Adam, Stefan and Amstutz, Jeremias and Aviles, Gregorio and Caimi, Massimo and Crivelli, Luca and Ferrari, Domenico and Pozzi, Davide and Schmitz, Daniela and Wüthrich, Bernadette and Zöbeli, Daniel (2015) Social Enterprise in Switzerland: The Field of Work Integration. ICSEM Working Paper Series (19).

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Abstract

This working paper focuses on work integration social enterprises (WISE) in Switzerland. The results are taken from a current nationwide research project titled “Social firms as the cornerstone of social innovation in Switzerland: general conditions, factors of success, and impact” (original title: Die Sozialfirma als Grundstein sozialer Innovation in der Schweiz: Rahmenbedingungen, Erfolgfaktoren und Wirkungen - INSOCH). The paper is structured in three parts. Part A explains the Swiss WISE context from three different perspectives: the definitional approach describes the context by means of different definitions and criteria used by umbrella organizations, conference providers, and practitioners. It is demonstrated that these heterogeneous understandings share some relevant criteria according to the ICSEM definition. The historical approach highlights relevant cornerstones of the welfare state development in Switzerland, and reasons for its tentative way of development. Furthermore, the impact of this development on the emergence of work integration organizations (WIOs)—including WISEs—is described. Then, the current situation is examined by means of a welfare theoretical approach. To this end, the current situation of WISEs in relation to other WIOs is visualized by the welfare triangle (Pestoff 1998). Based on this, current challenges and tensions of Swiss WISEs are sketched. Part B presents interims results of the INSOCH project. First of all, methodological considerations are explained. Especially, the process of identifying WISEs within the broader set of WIOs is explained. For this reason, the results are displayed and described for non-WISE WIOs and for WISEs separately. Furthermore, we illustrate how WISEs have been explored in more detail by means of a two-step cluster analysis. On the basis of this analysis, sub-types of WISE can be differentiated. Part C summarizes the working paper by means of a visualized comparison between WISEs and non-WISE WIOs. This comparison is used to draw some tentative conclusions about the further development of WISEs in Switzerland.

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