Tarja Niemelä, Sofia Kauko-Valli


We investigate the complex dynamics between social service entrepreneurs and social sector managers through the lens of network metaphor, utilizing our data on social service entrepreneurs’ experiences of cooperation with municipalities. We examine what kinds of dependencies exist in the entrepreneur–municipality relationships and what kind of consequences these dependencies have on social service businesses run by entrepreneurs. Basing on the social service entrepreneurs experience, our findings suggest that while the cooperation with the municipality represents a prerequisite for success, their business represent only one alternative for the renewal of social service structures from the point of view of municipalities. In addition, the existence of legally enforced supervisory duties incorporates a considerable amount of power that influences areas of the entrepreneur–municipality relationships and interaction other than just those defined by the supervisory and regulatory rights.