The Australian Social Economy is worth over $33 billion annually. It is larger than the agriculture, communications or mining industries. It is also larger than the economies of South Australia, the ACT or of Tasmania. The task of leading and managing a Social Economy organisation is more complex than in other sectors. In addition, the sector has undergone much change, and the rate of change continues, most notably due to the out-sourcing of activity previously undertaken by government departments. The sector and its organisations, like their counterparts globally, are growing in numbers, scale, and influence.
This exploratory study is focused on understanding how sector and its stakeholders view issues about “management” and “leadership” in the Australian Social Economy. It was not intended to be an evaluation of the sector’s current capabilities. Nor is it a laundry list of recommendations provided. Instead we seek to establish a platform that may serve as a basis for understanding and improved communication among all stakeholders who may begin to engage in dialogue and develop strategies for change in the best interests of the sector.
The interpretations in this report are not intended to be criticising of, or negative about the social sector and its members. During the conduct of the research it was evident that enormous social good is achieved by sector members in the face of significant challenges.