Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Resource-Based View (RBV) of Unincorporated Social Economy Organizations

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Resource-Based View (RBV) of Unincorporated Social Economy Organizations

Article excerpt


This article examines three related questions about unincorporated social economy organizations (USEOs): What are the characteristics of these social economy organizations? What is the unique bundle of resources that gives rise to and sustains their operations? Is there evidence of bricolage in these organizations? The findings suggest that USEOs are driven foremost by a social mission. USEOs provide diverse services and products including economic and specialized social activities, which are integral to the social fabric of society. The results also show that they combine and leverage two core resources - social capital and human capital - to support the operations of their organizations. Moreover they appear to draw on whatever resources are at their disposal to support the activities of the organization. This suggests that USEOs are involved in bricolage activities, which could explain the longevity of many of the organizations.


Cet article répond à trois questions étroitement liées sur les organismes d'économie sociale non constitués en société : Quelles sont les caractéristiques de ces organismes? Quelles sont les ressources particulières qui leur permettent de fonctionner? Ces organismes ont-ils recours au bricolage (dans le sens que Claude Lévi-Strauss prête à ce mot)? Les résultats indiquent qu'une mission sociale est ce qui motive les organismes d'économie sociale non enregistrés. Ces derniers fournissent une diversité de produits et services, y compris des activités économiques et sociales spécialisées qui sont essentielles pour la solidarité sociale. Les résultats montrent aussi que ces organismes combinent deux ressources clés - le capital social et le capital humain - afin d'appuyer le bon fonctionnement de leurs organisations. En outre, pour ce faire, ils ont apparemment recours à toute ressource qui soit à leur portée. Cette dernière pratique indique que les organismes d'économie sociale non constitués en société mènent vraisemblablement des activités de bricolage, ce qui pourrait expliquer pourquoi bon nombre de leurs organisations ont si longue vie.

Keywords / Mots clés

Unincorporated; Social economy; Resource-based view; Bricolage/Non enregistré; Économie sociale; Théorie des ressources; Bricolage


It is important to recognize that most organizations are simply legal fictions which serve as a nexus for a set of contracting relationship among individuals. This includes firms, non-profit institutions such as universities, hospitals and foundations, mutual organizations such as mutual savings banks and insurance companies and co-operatives, some private clubs and even government bodies such as cities, states and the Federal government, government enterprises such as TVA, the Post Office, transit systems, etc. (Jensen & Meckling, 1976, p. 8)

Organizations are an enigma of modern society. Not only are we amazed and intrigued by what they are, what they do, and how they change, we continue to try to understand how they are different. The interest in organizational heterogeneity and how new forms of organizations emerge, has preoccupied scholars in different fields of study (Castells & Portes, 1989; Jepperson & Meyer, 1991; Schneiberg, 2002). While there are critiques (see Carroll, 1993), one of the ways organizational theorists tend to explain differences between organizations is the diversity of the environments and the unique bundle of resources they are able to put together (Hannan & Freeman, 1977; Oliver, 1997; Scott, 1987). Through institutional instruments such as the legal system, society grants legitimacy and provides access to resources that facilitate organizations. Hence, it has been suggested that the extent of diversity of organizations and the ability to create new organizations, vary between societies (Jepperson & Meyer, 1991). However, research interests in management studies have largely omitted organizations below the radar of legal incorporation or registration (Godfrey, 2011), such as unincorporated social economy organizations (USEOs). …

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