Overview of Social Economy in IT

The role of cooperative and social enterprises

The role of cooperative and social enterprises in contemporary market economies has been downplayed and marginalised to date by the dominant economic approaches. This insufficient attention (Kalmi, 2008 su Cambridge Journal of Economics) derives from the limited applicability of the main assumptions of microeconomic to the case of cooperative and social enterprises. We mainly refer to models. the assumption of self-seeking individuals and of profit maximisation as the only possible firm objective.
The mismatch between theoretical assumptions and empirical evidence has led to the underestimation of the growth potential, weight and role of cooperative and social enterprises. We maintain that the improvement of the scientific understanding of cooperative and social enterprises requires to enlarge and deepen the assumption of the relevant theoretical models.
Individuals cannot be characterised any more as purely self-interested. Instead, the importance of motivational complexity, and the diverse nature of preferences needs to be introduced in the model as suggested by the behavioural approach. Furthermore, firms cannot be interpreted any more in an exclusive way as profit maximizers. They are instead coordination mechanisms of the economic activity, as suggested by the evolutionary approach.
To this end they develop specific organisational routines, and their objectives can be diverse, ranging from purely private appropriation, to mutual benefit based on reciprocity, to public benefit aim supported by other-regarding preferences.

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