An Empirical Investigation of Supportive Legal Frameworks for Social Enterprises in Belgium: A Cross-Sectoral Comparison of Case Studies Concerning Social Enterprises in the Social Housing, Finance and Energy Sector

  • Aikaterini ArgyrouEmail author
  • Tineke Elisabeth Lambooy
  • Robert Jan Blomme
  • Henk Kievit
  • Guus Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman
  • Duco Hora Siccama


This study aims to investigate how the existing legal framework for social enterprises in Belgium affects the activity of social enterprises in the social housing, finance and energy sector. The focus is thereby on the legal factor of governance and the decision-making power of stakeholders. These matters are examined in respect of one particular type of social enterprises, the so-called company with a social purpose, ‘Vennootschap met Sociaal Oogmerk’ (VSO). The authors conducted three case studies in Belgium. They examined in which way the VSO law has been implemented in three social enterprises which are active in different sectors, i.e. the energy, finance and housing sector and compared the results. By comparing the case studies, this article aims to generate (i) a cross-sectoral theoretical analysis regarding the practical application of the legal factor of governance in the three Belgian social enterprises and, (ii) a comprehensive understanding of the involvement of different stakeholders in the social enterprises’ governance in these sectors. Useful conclusions were drawn for the improvement of the legal framework for social enterprises in Belgium as well as for the improvement of the social enteprises functioning.


Social enterprises Cooperatives Governance Stakeholders Belgium 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aikaterini Argyrou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tineke Elisabeth Lambooy
    • 3
  • Robert Jan Blomme
    • 4
  • Henk Kievit
    • 5
  • Guus Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman
    • 1
  • Duco Hora Siccama
    • 1
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.Nyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenNetherlands
  3. 3.Corporate LawNyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenNetherlands
  4. 4.Organisational BehaviourNyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenNetherlands
  5. 5.Center for Entrepreneurship, Governance and StewardshipNyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenNetherlands

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