Many governments encourage communities and individuals to play a more active part in tackling societal problems. A case in point are social enterprises that integrate economic and social value creation. Many see them as promising agents for social innovation that can help build more inclusive economies and societies.

Yet, governments often still find it difficult to decide how to interact with and support social enterprises. There is confusion about the concept of social enterprise and social enterprises come in many forms and sizes. What they all have in common, is their hybrid character, mixing the institutional logics of state, market and society. This hybridity is their strength, as it encourages synergy and innovation, but also their weakness, as it leads to ambiguity and confusion.

In my research on social enterprises, I mainly look at their relationship with public administration and how they as hybrid organizations can play their part in tackling wicked societal issues. I am especially interested in how governments can create an enabling eco-system for social enterprise and social innovation, which helps their social mission but also acknowledges their hybrid character and its specific challenges.

I am a management committee member of EMPOWER-SE and have participated in the ICSEM-project by writing texts about social enterprise in the Netherlands and the relationship between ‘new style’ and traditional social enterprises in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (published in 2021 by Routledge; see below). As a consultant, I have shared my expertise on these matters with the European Commission and the OECD. Social enterprise and social innovation are also topics that feature in my teaching at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

See below for a short video about my research and a selection of my publications on social enterprise and social innovation.

Publications on Social enterprise & social innovation (selected)

Karré, P.M. (2024). Social enterprises and public organizations: allies of adversaries? Introduction to special issue, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 305-316.

Karré, P.M. & Van Meerkerk, I. (2023). The Challenge of Navigating the Double Hybridity in the Relationship between Community Enterprises and Municipalities, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 10.1080/19420676.2023.2263772

Fenger, H.J.M, Karré, P.M. & Blok, S.N. (2023). Conceptualizing new forms of volunteering in urban governance, Urban Governance,

Karré, P.M. (2021). Social Enterprise in the Netherlands: Between Hope and Hype. In J. Defourny & M. Nyssens (eds.). Social Enterprise in Western Europe: Theory, Models and Practice (pp. 149-165). New York and London, Routledge.

Karré, P.M. (2021). Social Enterprise in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands: Where the Old Meets the New. In J. Defourny & M. Nyssens (eds.). Social Enterprise in Western Europe: Theory, Models and Practice (pp. 288-300). New York and London, Routledge.

OECD (2021). Boosting social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development in Brandenburg, Germany: In-depth policy review. OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Papers, No. 2021/03, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Karré, P.M. (2018). Navigating between opportunities and risks. The effects of hybridity for social enterprises engaged in social innovation. Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity (JEOD), 7(1), pp. 37-60.

Puerari, E., J. de Koning, T. von Wirth, P.M. Karré, I.J. Mulder & D.A. Loorbach (2018). Co-Creation Dynamics in Urban Living Labs. Sustainability, 10(6), pp. 1-18.

Karré, P.M. (2017). Drie misverstanden over sociale innovatie. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice, 26(2), pp.76–82.

Walraven, G., S. van der Pas, I. de Vries & P.M. Karré (eds.) (2020). Sociaal ondernemen. Innovatie en ondernemerschap in het sociaal domein. Amsterdam: Boom.

Karré, P.M., H. Dagevos & G. Walraven (eds.) (2018). Sociale innovatie in de praktijk. Zoeken naar nieuwe antwoorden op maatschappelijke vraagstukken. Assen: Van Gorcum.

Karré, P.M. & I.F. van Meerkerk (2019). Samen werken aan de wijk. Een bestuurskundige reflectie op de relatie tussen wijkcoöperaties en gemeente in Rotterdam. Rotterdam: Kenniswerkplaats Leefbare Wijken.

Karré, P.M. & T. ‘S Jongers (2018). Zorgcoöperaties in Rotterdam en Den Haag. Verslag van een verkennend onderzoek. Rotterdam: Lectoraat Dynamiek van de Stad, Hogeschool Inholland.

Karré, P.M.(2018). Sociaal ondernemers moeten het zelf doen. In: Economische Verkenning Rotterdam 2018 (pp. 58-59). Rotterdam: Gemeente Rotterdam.

Karré, P.M. & V. Mossel (2017). Sociaal én ondernemend. Een essay over de kansen en risico’s van hybriditeit voor sociale ondernemingen. Rotterdam: Lectoraat Dynamiek van de Stad, Hogeschool Inholland.

Steen, M.A. van der, P.M. Karré & M.J.W. van Twist (2011). When Citizens Take Matters Into Their Own Hands: How Privately Managed Communities Challenge Government. Public Integrity. 13(4), 319-331.

Twist, M.J.W. van, M.A. van der Steen & P.M. Karré (2009). Als burgers het heft in eigen handen nemen – Van representatieve naar doe-het-zelf democratie. Res Publica, 4, 521-536.