Social enterprises, marketing, and sustainable public service provision

Madeline Powell, Stephen Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores whether social enterprises are capable of fulfilling the public policy rhetoric surrounding them, to become sustainable providers of public services. It does this by examining their marketing activity within North-East England and focuses on social enterprises delivering adult social care public services. It finds that social enterprises are employing a product-dominant approach to marketing rather than a service-oriented, relationship marketing, approach. This undermines their ability to build the enduring relationships with all their key stakeholders that are the key to effective service management and fatally weakens their potential as sustainable public service providers. The paper subsequently uses service theory to build an alternative model of marketing and business practice predicted precisely upon the need to build such relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-79
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • marketing
  • public services
  • sustainability
  • service marketing
  • social enterprise


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