Hazenberg, R., Seddon, F. A. and Denny, S. (2012) Investigating the outcome performance of work-integration social enterprises (WISEs): do WISEs offer ‘added value’ to NEETs? Paper presented to: International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM XVI) 16th Conference, University of Rome, 11-13 April 2012.
In recent years the UK government has increasingly utilised WISEs in the delivery of employment enhancement programmes (EEPs) to young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), partly due to the perceived ‘added value’ that WISEs are seen to offer. However, this ‘added value’ has not been evidenced through rigorous academic research. This study takes a comparative, intervention approach to study the ‘outcome’ performance of two such work-integration organisations. One of these organisations was a WISE and the other was a ‘for-profit’ private company. The NEET participants at both organisations completed general self-efficacy (GSE) questionnaires before and after engagement in their respective programmes (T1 & T2). In addition, semi-structured interviews and focus groups were held with the owners and staff at both organisations, in order to elicit understanding of how both organisations’ aims, values and structures impacted upon the delivery of the EEPs. Results revealed no significant difference between the outcome benefits experienced by the NEETs at the WISE and those at the for-profit organisation. However, analysis of the organisational aims, values and structures, suggests that the ‘added value’ offered by the WISE came from the different induction policy that it operated, which allowed it to work with more ‘socially excluded’ individuals