8 October 2019

Recent research by Dr Sarah Ivory and Florian Koehne finds that collegiality has the potential to be a viable governance approach for social enterprises.
Board meeting attendees

The research focused on a case study of a UK social enterprise jointly established in September 2016 by leading members of the Scottish business and social enterprise community.

The researchers recorded and analysed board meetings from November 2016 to March 2018 and interviewed the board members and enterprise administrator. Based on their research, they found a (re)-enchantment of collegiality as a governance practice in a social enterprise context. However, such collegial governance requires a certain set of enablers on the micro, meso, and macro level. These allow for a successful transcendence of traditional collegiality principles from the political and institutional sphere into the organisational context of social enterprises.

In particular, 'decision-making by consensus' and 'equality' need to be reassessed in order to successfully adapt collegial governance. Instead, decision-making by absence of objection and a naturally evolving hierarchy of competence appear to be more suitable when applying the collegial model in this field.

Read the Report