UAH professor publishes on the social economy of the United States

Understanding the Social Economy of the United States

Dr. John R. Whitman, visiting professor and interim director of the Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Lab at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), announced today the forthcoming publication of Understanding the Social Economy of the United States by the University of Toronto Press in early 2015.

Co-authored with Laurie Mook, Jack Quarter, and Ann Armstrong, with a foreword by Lucy Bernholz, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the study of organizations with social goals – public sector nonprofits, civil society organizations, social enterprises, cooperatives, and other organizations with a social mission – under the rubric of the social economy.

"The aim," says Dr. Whitman, "is to present a more realistically dynamic and fluid framework to understand our increasingly complex economy than the conventional distinction between the public sector, the private sector, and the social sector, and to show how there is vibrant overlap between these three sectors even within the same organizations."

As Dr. Whitman explains, a university can generate revenues from tuition fees (as in the private sector), from government contracts (as in the public sector), and from charitable donations and philanthropic grants (as in the social sector), thus defying placement in any one of the three sectors and in fact straddling all three, which presents strategic and operational management challenges as well as opportunities.

"Today's students and board members alike must be mindful of how organizations in our economy are evolving and new forms emerging to meet changing social needs and economic constraints," he says.

The text is rich in examples and case studies that explain the social economy framework in the context of the United States. The book not only highlights the differences between these organizations and traditional businesses, but also provides applied chapters on organizational development, strategic management and leadership, human resources, finance, and social accounting and accountability in social economy organizations.

Understanding the Social Economy of the United States may be pre-ordered online from the University of Toronto Press.



Dr. John Whitman