Reference : The governance of fair trade social enterprises in Belgium
Scientific journals : Article
Business & economic sciences : General management & organizational theory
Business & economic sciences : Social economics
The governance of fair trade social enterprises in Belgium
[fr] La gouvernance des entreprises de commerce équitable en Belgique
Huybrechts, Benjamin mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC-Ecole de gestion : UER > Economie sociale et systèmes économiques >]
Social Enterprise Journal
Governance and social enterprise
United Kingdom
[en] governance ; stakeholder ; fair trade ; Belgium ; democracy ; Board
[fr] gouvernance ; partie prenante ; commerce équitable ; conseil d'administration ; démocratie ; Belgique
[en] Purpose – This article addresses the governance of “Fair Trade Social Enterprises” (FTSEs), i.e., the organisations exclusively dedicated to the import, distribution and/or labelling of fairly traded products. The aims are (1) to describe and categorise the types of persons and stakeholder groups represented in FTSEs’ governance structures and (2) to look at the link between stakeholder involvement and other organisational features such as resources, goals and activities.

Design/methodology/approach – These questions are investigated through a qualitative field study based on face-to-face interviews with the managers of 15 Belgian FTSEs.

Findings – I distinguish three governance models each entailing different governance paradigms: the managerial model, the volunteer-based model and the multi-stakeholder model. In the three governance models, it is possible to link, to a certain extent, the composition of the governance structures, the access to resources and the goal priorities regarding the different dimensions of the FT activity. In brief, governance appears as an organisational entry revealing much information about the vision and the strategy of the FTSEs.

Research limitations/implications – This study is limited to Belgian FTSEs and must be considered as one of the first attempts in characterising the specific features and challenges of organisational governance in the FT context. International comparative studies exploring FTSE’s governance in a more longitudinal perspective, combining the standpoints of diverse organisational actors, would be most welcome in the future.

Originality/value – As this article shows, the multidimensional nature of FT and the coexistence of different types of FTSEs in the same country make this a very interesting field to investigate the challenges of governance in social enterprises. Social enterprises and those researching them should pay more attention to the importance of adopting and conceiving governance schemes that are adapted to their multiple missions and enable the access to multiple resources.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

File(s) associated to this reference

Fulltext file(s):

Open access
Huybrechts 2010 SEJ.pdfAuthor preprint196.93 kBView/Open

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBi are protected by a user license.