Disclosure of Social-Economic Value in the Social Enterprise. Stimuli from an Italian Multiple Case Study

  •  Antonietta Cosentino    


The growing interest in the financial, social and environmental sustainability of all organizations as a whole, as well as the growing sentiment for their responsibility towards the community, lead organizations to face the challenge of evaluating and communicating their non-financial performance through the social accounting. The issue assumes a peculiar meaning within social enterprises (SEs) aimed at pursuing the general interest. In these organizations, the disclosure of the value created for both internal and social stakeholder raises to rank of survival condition because the development, reputation and credibility of the SEs are closely linked to the institution's ability to reach and communicate externally the social value created. This work aims to highlight the peculiar resources of the SEs and demonstrate that, in most cases, they allow SEs to achieve financial sustainability. Social and economic value will be assessed and the share of income that cannot be distributed, regardless of the relevant regulatory provisions, will be emphasized. To achieve these goals, a multiple case study is used to measure the value added distributed to internal and external stakeholders by adapting Mook model to SEs. The results show that volunteering and donations contribute not only to the social value generated by SEs but to their economic sustainability as well, being considered as the engine of development of the economic system as a whole. This paper contributes to the literature by focusing on the contribution of liberalities and volunteering to consolidate the financial structure of the SE and to development of the economic system as a whole.

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