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Social Impact Investing in Germany: Current Impediments from Investors’ and Social Entrepreneurs’ Perspectives

  • Gunnar Glänzel
  • Thomas Scheuerle
Original Paper

Abstract

The paper provides empirical evidence on impediments of the emerging social impact investment field in Germany. The study is based on 19 in-depth interviews with social impact investing funds, investment advisors, and social entrepreneurs as investees. It takes an explorative approach because of the nascent stage of research on the subject. By systematically relating the perspectives of the actors involved, the study gives a broad empirical picture on the major challenges for social impact investing in Germany. Results reveal nine critical problem areas we have arranged along three dimensions: financial returns, social returns, and relationships and infrastructure. They comprise investors’ and social entrepreneurs’ practices, institutional settings which are still heavily influenced by peculiarities of the German welfare systems, as well as undeveloped framework conditions in the social investment market. By interpreting the results through a lens of conflicting institutional logics, we further contribute to this research stream by showcasing social impact investing as a core area of friction between the logics of the market and civil society.

Keywords

Social entrepreneurship Social enterprise Social impact investment Institutional logics Venture philanthropy 

Résumé

Cet article avance des données empiriques sur les obstacles au domaine émergent de l’investissement à impact social en Allemagne. L’étude repose sur 19 entretiens approfondis réalisés avec des fonds d’investissement à impact social, des conseillers en placement et des entrepreneurs sociaux en tant qu’investisseurs. Elle inclut une approche exploratoire en raison du stade embryonnaire des recherches sur le sujet. En reliant systématiquement les points de vue des acteurs concernés, l’étude offre une idée générale empirique des principaux défis pour l’investissement à impact social en Allemagne. Les résultats révèlent neuf problèmes essentiels que nous avons présentés selon trois dimensions: les retombées financières, les retombées sociales, et les relations et les infrastructures. Ils comprennent les pratiques des investisseurs et des entrepreneurs sociaux, les cadres institutionnels qui sont encore fortement influencés par les particularités du système de sécurité sociale allemand, ainsi que les conditions-cadres peu développées dans le marché de l’investissement social. En interprétant les résultats dans la perspective des logiques institutionnelles contradictoires, nous contribuons, d’autre part, à ce courant de recherche en montrant l’investissement à impact social en tant que domaine central de friction entre les logiques du marché et la société civile.

Zusammenfassung

Der Artikel fasst empirische Ergebnisse einer Studie zu Hemmnissen für den noch jungen Social-Impact-Investment-Markt in Deutschland zusammen. Die Studie beruht auf 19 detaillierten Interviews mit Social-Impact-Investment-Fonds, Intermediären sowie Sozialunternehmen als Empfänger der Investitionen. Da sich die Forschung zu diesem Thema noch in den Anfängen befindet, wurde in der Studie ein stark explorativer Ansatz gewählt. Indem die Perspektiven der involvierten Akteure zueinander in Beziehung gesetzt werden, systematisiert der Artikel erste umfassende empirische Erkenntnisse über die wesentlichen Schwierigkeiten für Social Impact Investing in Deutschland. Die Ergebnisse zeigen neun kritische Problemfelder, die entlang von drei Dimensionen angeordnet werden: finanzielle Renditen, soziale Renditen sowie Beziehungen und Infrastruktur. Darunter finden sich die teilweise in Konflikt stehenden Praktiken der Investoren und Sozialunternehmen, die institutionellen Rahmenbedingungen insbesondere hinsichtlich der Besonderheiten des deutschen Sozialsystems, sowie die noch un(ter)entwickelten Rahmenbedingungen im Social-Impact-Investment-Markt. Wir interpretieren die Ergebnisse aus der Sicht gegensätzlicher institutioneller Logiken und leisten hier einen Beitrag zur Forschung, indem wir Social Impact Investing als einen zentralen Kristallisationspunkt der Spannungen zwischen den Logiken des Marktes und der Bürgergesellschaft im Rahmen hybrider Organisationen und Lösungsansätze interpretieren.  

Resumen

El presente documento proporciona pruebas empíricas sobre los impedimentos del emergente campo de inversión con impacto social en Alemania. El estudio se basa en 19 entrevistas en profundidad con fondos de inversión con impacto social, asesores de inversión y emprendedores sociales como inversionistas. Asume un enfoque exploratorio debido a la etapa inicial de la investigación sobre este tema. Mediante la relación sistemática de las perspectivas de los actores implicados, el estudio ofrece un amplio cuadro empírico sobre los principales desafíos para la inversión con impacto social en Alemania. Los resultados revelan nueve áreas de problemas críticos que hemos distribuido en tres dimensiones: rendimiento financiero, rendimiento social y relaciones e infraestructura. Comprenden las prácticas de los inversores y de los emprendedores sociales, los escenarios institucionales que todavía están muy influenciados por las peculiaridades de los sistemas de bienestar social alemán, así como también las condiciones marco no desarrolladas en el mercado de inversión social. Mediante la interpretación de los resultados a través de una lente de lógica institucional conflictiva, contribuimos también a esta corriente de investigación exhibiendo la inversión con impacto social como un área fundamental de fricción entre la lógica del mercado y la sociedad civil.

Chinese

本文为德国新兴的社会影响投资领域所面临的障碍提供了经验主义证据,本文中的研究是建立在和19个社会影响投资基金、投资顾问和社会投资企业家进行的深入访谈的基础上。 由于这一话题的研究尚不成熟,因此研究采用了探索的方式。在研究中,从各个角度系统探讨社会影响投资的各个参与者,描绘了一幅德国社会影响投资面临的主要挑战的画卷。研究显示,社会影响投资存在9个重要的问题领域,我们从三个角度对这些问题进行描述:经济回报、社会回报以及关系和基础设施。这三个角度组成投资人和社会企业家的实践和体制环境,深受德国福利体系以及社会投资市场上落后的框架结构状况的影响。 我们通过相互冲突的制度逻辑对研究结果进行解读,发现社会影响投资是市场和民间团体之间产生逻辑摩擦的核心领域,从而把研究又向前推进了一步。

Japanese

本論文は、ドイツの投資分野における社会的影響の妨げに対する経験的証拠を提供する。本研究は社会的影響を与える投資資金、投資顧問と投資先としての社会起業家との19件の詳細なインタビューに基づいている。対象とする研究が初期段階にあるため、探索的アプローチが必要とされる。本研究では行為者を含む観点を体型的に関連づけて、ドイツでの投資の社会的影響における主要な課題に対する実証的な実態を提示する。結果として、3次元つまり金融返済、社会的貢献、インフラと関係を配置することによって、9つの重大な問題が明らかになった。社会的な投資市場における発展途上の枠組みにおける状況およびドイツの福祉システムの特殊性による重大な影響という機関設定および投資家と社会起業家の実践から構成されている。さらに本研究では、競合する制度的論理のレンズを通して解釈することによって、投資市場の論理と市民社会間の摩擦におけるコア領域と社会的影響を提起する。

Arabic

تقدم المقالة الأدلة التجريبية على عوائق التأثير الإجتماعي الناشئ على مجال الإستثمار في ألمانيا. تستند الدراسة على 19 من المقابلات المعمقة مع التأثير الإجتماعي في إستثمار الأموال، مستشاري الإستثمار وأصحاب المشاريع الإجتماعية كمستثمرين. فإنه يأخذ نهج تمهيدي بسبب مراحله الأولى من البحوث حول هذا الموضوع.عن طريق ربط منهجي لوجهات نظر الجهات المعنية، تعطي الدراسة صورة تجريبية واسعة على التحديات الرئيسية للتأثير الإجتماعي على الإستثمار في ألمانيا. تكشف النتائج تسعة مجالات لمشاكل حرجة رتبناها على ثلاثة أبعاد: العائدات المالية، العوائد الإجتماعية، والعلاقات والبنية التحتية. هي تضم المستثمرين “و ممارسات أصحاب المشاريع الإجتماعية “ ، الإعدادات المؤسسية التي لا تزال متأثرة بشدة خصوصيات نظم الرعاية الألمانية، فضلا” عن حالات إطار عمل غير مستغل في سوق الإستثمار الإجتماعي.عن طريق تفسير النتائج من خلال عدسة من المنطق المؤسسي المتضارب، نساهم أيضا” في تيار البحوث من خلال عرض التأثير الإجتماعي على الإستثمار بإعتباره مجال رئيسي للإحتكاك بين منطق السوق والمجتمع المدني.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the European Commission for funding and Kathia Serrano-Velarde, Adalbert Evers, Jessica Aschari-Lincoln, Seva Phillips, Björn Schmitz, Georg Mildenberger, Volker Then, Rüdiger Knust, Wolfgang Spiess-Knafl and Verena Schmid for their helpful comments and support.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Social InvestmentUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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