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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An in-depth look at women leaders developing social enterprises within non-profit organizations Cavouras, Anna Lise


Social enterprises are an expanding area within the non-profit sector, impacting both service delivery for clients and organizational funding. This qualitative, descriptive study looks at the experiences of women executive directors of non-profit organizations who are running a social enterprise. Through individual interviews, participants were asked about their experiences as a leader, their motivations for developing social enterprises, and the outcomes experienced as a result. Findings were analyzed using a feminist analysis with a focus on the unique experiences of women in the workplace. Results from the interview analysis show that the personal experiences of the participants directly influence their leadership and the direction of organization growth. The motivations behind social enterprises were described either as a practical solution to meet funding objectives, or to provide opportunities for marginalized client groups through training and work experience. In both cases, the overarching aim with generated funds was to improve client service and engage in prevention or activist work with a social justice focus, with a driving motive to improve clients’ circumstances. Implications for social work practice are discussed, as are study limitations and suggestions for future research.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International