Motivations and effects of ethical purchasing from social enterprise in a regional city

Publication Name

Social Enterprise Journal


Purpose: In recent years, the socio-economic power of local purchasing by both individuals and organisations has become of increasing interest. Despite growing recognition of social enterprises as local development actors, relatively little attention has been given to the motivations and effects of purchasing from social enterprises, particularly in regional settings. Informed by the literature on diverse economies, this paper aims to examine the patterns and motivations for purchasing from social enterprises by local citizens and organisations. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis draws on an in-depth mixed-methods case study of purchasing from two social enterprises in a regional city in Victoria, Australia. Data sources included semi-structured and standing interviews, as well as sales data. Data analysis includes thematic analysis and geo-spatial mapping. Findings: The findings suggest purchasing from social enterprises in regional settings is shaped by both typical consumption needs and ethical concerns that emphasise the place-based orientation of social enterprises’ operations and missions. Originality/value: This paper extends understanding of how community economies are negotiated and configured in regional contexts. It also contributes to consumer understandings within the social enterprise literature, which to date has been surprisingly scant in unpacking how and to what end their customers’ consumption choices affect the kinds of value social enterprises are able to create.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)