Sub-theme 3.1. Social enterprise, quality of jobs and organizational performance

Sub-theme 3.1. Social enterprise, quality of jobs and organizational performance

The following original question is to be investigated: how do social enterprises, through the implementation of specific incentive mix, affect the quality of employment of low qualified workers, which is not a priori mission-oriented? Indeed, the literature generally focuses on a priori intrinsically motivated workers attracted by the social mission of the organization.

For low qualified workers, the general assumption put forward by the literature is that the tasks assigned to them are too far from the mission of the organization, so that the mission does not have any impact on their behaviours. Our overarching hypothesis in this project is that social enterprises implement work environment or “incentive structures”, which are more oriented towards intrinsic motivations, in order to orient employee efforts towards the organizational mission (see WP 4 on governance). In turn, this specific work environment affects the quality of job of all workers including the low qualified.

Moreover, these differentiated practices between for-profit and social enterprises in human resource management have an impact on organizational performance. So we put forward the hypothesis that these specificities affect crucial dimension such as absenteeism, work engagement and organizational commitment of the low-qualified workers which in turn affect organizational performance.

Personal services on quasi-markets are flourishing across Europe (home care, residential care…). This empirical field is relevant to test our hypotheses for several reasons. First, for-profit companies and social enterprises coexist and therefore comparative analysis could be implemented. Secondly, it is well-know that quasi-markets in personal services are marked by imperfect information in the sense that some agencies are better informed than others about the conditions and functioning of the transactions. This discrepant information increases the risks of opportunist behaviour and then the importance of appropriate incentives mixes. Thirdly, these industries rely, at least partially, on low qualified workers.

We propose in a first stage to design a qualitative research procedure in order to elicit the specific incentive structures implemented by for-profit and social enterprises. Two industries are to be selected among those considered in this project, and three organizations in each industry will be visited, interviewing all concerned parties. This will allow us to reformulate, if necessary, or refine the hypotheses referred to above and to develop a closed questionnaire. Surveys will be addressed to a sample of company managers and to workers, enabling statistical testing of the hypotheses derived from the case study work.