Social Enterprise Places:a place-based initiative facilitating syntactic, semantic and pragmatic constructions of legitimacy


Social Enterprises are becoming a significant force of social as well as economic good despite facing many difficulties that are brought about by their unique characteristics. Chief among these is the question of their perceived legitimacy that impinges upon their ability to gain funding, acquire contracts and appear as capable organisations to potential partnering institutions. This study explores the means by which Social Enterprises are legitimized through participation in the Social Enterprise Place (SEP) programme in the UK. By examining the Boundary Objects (BO) that span the intersections of the incumbent social groups it identifies three pillars upon which SEPs have facilitated SE legitimacy. These pillars comprise (i) the place-based language (syntactic BO), that enables the identification of (ii) common social goals (semantic BOs), and thereby enables the (iii) mobilization of resources toward their resolution (pragmatic BOs). This research provides insight into the facilitation of legitimacy for Social Enterprises that are engaged in a place-based initiative. By responding to Peterson’s (2016) call for macromarketers to take more note of meso level marketing dynamics in different industries the paper highlights the potential for place to facilitate the legitimacy of SEs. In addition, it reveals a further macromarketing dimension to Boundary Object plasticity whereby they may evolve through syntactic, semantic and pragmatic forms over time.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Marketing & Strategy
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: © Sage 2021. The final publication is available via Sage at
Uncontrolled Keywords: boundary object,legitimacy,macromarketing,place,social enterprise,Marketing
Publication ISSN: 0276-1467
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 07:19
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2021 13:09
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 761467211040765 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-03
Published Online Date: 2021-11-24
Accepted Date: 2021-08-05
Authors: Samuel, Anthony
White, Gareth R.T.
Peattie, Kenneth
Thomas, Robert



Version: Accepted Version

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