Social Enterprise in Transition: a case study of ACT Group

Paul Stubbs, Davorka Vidović


Contextualising the lived practices of social enterprises overcomes crude binaries between idealised views of such ventures as ‘heroic’ and those which see them as the reproduction of neo-liberal hegemony. When translated into ‘transition’ contexts in the ‘semi-periphery’, there is a need for case studies of social enterprises which address the micro-level of lived social practices, exploring the ways in which particular initiatives steer a path, however contradictory and paradoxical, towards an autonomous space for action, even in the face of an inconsistent and unsupportive operating environment.    Based on a ‘bending and blending’ approach, making a virtue out of the fact that researchers on social enterprises inevitably are also enrolled as policy consultants, advisors, advocates, and practitioners, this paper uses qualitative methods to explore the work of ACT Group, a consortium of social enterprises from Čakovec, Croatia. The text explores the hybrid nature of the Group’s organisational topography and leadership styles, the complex relationship between informal and formal practices, and the unexpected synergies between charismatic leadership and collective decision-making. 


Social enterprise; Croatia

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096