There is little to no existing research on the phenomenon of social enterprises (SEs) in Austria. To enable subsequent comparative studies, the author first traces social enterprises' conceptual underpinnings from most current research found in leading journals and subsequently creates a framework based upon social origins theory for use on Austria's social enterprises. In order to validate the findings, the author employs a triangulated research approach, including an online-based survey, semi-structured interviews and two panel discussions. Social enterprises in Austria are characterized through social activities, organizational types, legal forms, the society sector, the outcome emphasis, and the strategic development base. The social entrepreneur him/ herself was included as a source for a qualitative triangulation as well as a distinctive item. Austria's SEs are found to work in a multitude of fields, are independent, use market-based approaches, employ improvisation and innovation for the creation of social good and incorporate a strong entrepreneurial spirit. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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