Community Enterprises: Enduring Institutions for a Newer World
Community enterprises have long endured. Why they have endured and why there are undergoing a renaissance is explained by the very nature of their constituent parts: a sense of self, a love of and the need for community, the pursuit of solidarity, and enterprise attributes. These are the driving forces behind community enterprises, which have melded together to deliver significant benefits to many New Zealand communities over many years. Although community enterprises are not for every enterprise circumstance and every community, they reflect underlying truths of human nature, and when successfully employed, will endear themselves to their communities. When unsuccessful, they may generate strong emotions of rejection. This thesis explores these themes and their relevance to contemporary New Zealand society. It pursues the question of why some communities have a strong affinity for the concept of community enterprises and others do not; and argues for their importance as a complementary structure in a global world rightly and properly dominated by private enterprise. Distinctive features of community enterprises, including ownership, the pursuit of mixed economic and social goals, and the influence of politics, are also examined. Finally, the thesis tells the dynamic story of community enterprises in contemporary New Zealand through eight vignettes and four case studies. This thesis supports a contention that community enterprises are enduring and endearing institutions that can significantly benefit the well-being of a community.