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Social enterprise, not just profit

A thesis discussed at the Polytechnic University of Turin looks at the relationships between the various possible objectives of production organisations

 

The concept that profit is not the only goal for business appears to be well established, but nonetheless it needs to be examined in further depth and detail. Because a company that is not able to stand on its own two feet (i.e. to make a profit) is bound to fail sooner or later. On the other hand, it is true that profit alone is no longer enough. The question regarding the relationships between profit and the various other objectives of production organisations is thus a complex one, and this is the issue addressed by Elisa Tramontana in her thesis work “Analisi delle imprese a significativo impatto sociale: studio qualitativo con analisi dell’ecosistema” (An analysis of companies with significant social impact: qualitative study with an analysis of the ecosystem), discussed at the College of Management Engineering as part of the Master’s Degree in Management Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin.

Tramontana’s argument begins with the observation that in recent times, we have been “witnessing the emergence and spread of a new economic model which exists alongside the established one, where a company, at its core, exists to create profit.” In Tramontana’s opinion, “the excessive pursuit of profit for its own sake” has had a detrimental effect on the economic system. In her view, it is the emergence of negative external factors that has served to undermine the model, with detrimental effects on human beings, and on the environment and society as a whole. And the introduction of different measures within different economic systems, based on new constraints and taxation, is an attempt to combat or offset these effects.

“In recent years,” explains Elisa Tramontana, however, “a new vision of entrepreneurship has increasingly been taking shape, developing within the context of the increasing importance of social innovation.” She continues”In one version of this phenomenon, enterprise or the act of ‘doing business’ is part of a process that combines the pursuit of profit with the pursuit of benefit to society.”

To investigate this situation further, Tramontana first provides a lengthy analysis of the literature on this topic, before going on to look in greater depth at the attitude and evolution of the innovative new companies that are entering the market of social entrepreneurship, and which, for this reason, take a more favourable approach to combining profit with other business objectives.

Elisa Tramontana has done some interesting and rigorous work here, which can add valuable information and insights to a theme that is still evolving and being defined.

Analisi delle imprese a significativo impatto sociale: studio qualitativo con analisi dell’ecosistema (An analysis of companies with significant social impact: qualitative study with an analysis of the ecosystem)

Elisa Tramontana

Thesis, Polytechnic University of Turin, College of Management Engineering, Master’s Degree in Management Engineering, 2020