Scenarios for the employment of people with disabilities by work integration social enterprises in Latvia

  • Lasma Licite - Kurbe Latvia University of Life Sciences
  • Liva Sevcuna MBA
Keywords: work integration social enterprises, social entrepreneurship, people with disabilities


Employment is an important part of adult life, yet access to the labour market for people with disabilities is limited. A solution is to promote the development of work integration social enterprises (WISEs), yet this requires more support. Therefore, the research aims to identify factors influencing the employment of persons with disabilities by WISEs and design scenarios for promoting the employment of persons with disabilities in Latvia in the context of social entrepreneurship.

The research performed a systematic theoretical review to identify the factors, their scope and characteristics as well as their significance and applied analysis, synthesis and deduction for the identification and classification of the factors. The scenario method was employed to identify employment opportunities for people with disabilities, yet an assessment of the scenarios was performed by applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), which involved experts engaged in social entrepreneurship.

The research found that the most effective way to promote the employment of people with disabilities by WISEs was to increase the scope of national support instruments, and that the use of municipal support instruments was essential. The national support scenario involved partly subsidising wages for disabled employees employed by WISEs and support for long-term investment in WISEs.


Amin, A. (2009). The Social Economy. International Perspectives on Economic Solidarity. London: Zed Books.

Anca, E., & Sloka, B. (2020). Social entrepreneurship and employment challenges of persons with mental disabilities. New Challenges in Economic and Business Development – 2020: Economic Inequality and Well-Being. University of Latvia, Faculty of Business, Management and Economics, Riga, 9-16. 

Barraket, J. (2013). Fostering the wellbeing of immigrants and refugees? Evaluating the outcomes of work integration social enterprise. Pp. 102-119 in S. Denny & and F. Seddon (Eds.), Social Enterprise Accountability and Evaluation Around the World, Routledge, Abington: Oxon.

Barraket, J., & Archer, V. (2010). Social inclusion through community enterprise? Examining the available evidence. Third Sector Review, 16, 13-28.

Berkes, F., & Ross, H. (2013). Community resilience: toward an integrated approach. Society & Natural Resources, 26, 5-20.

Boardman, J. (2018). Work, employment and psychiatric disability. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 9 (5), 327-334. 

Bode, I., Evers, A., & Schulz, A. (2004). Facing new challenges. Work integration social enterprises in Germany. ISTR Workers paper series Toronto, Universitat Essen-Duisburg, Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen, Germany, 18. 

Brown, J. (2002). Social enterprise – so what’s new? Regeneration and Renewal, August 23, 16-17.

Chiu, C., Chan, C., & Chandra, Y. (2023). The role of social enterprises in facilitating labour market integration for people with disabilities: A convenient deflection from policy mainstreaming? Journal of Social Policy, 52(1), 176-196. doi:10.1017/S0047279421000490.

Chiu, C.H-K., Shum, M.H.Y., & Lum, T.Y.S. (2018). Work integration social enterprises as vessels of empowerment? Perspectives from employees. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 29 (2), 133-148. 

Dart, R. (2004). The legitimacy of social enterprise. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 14, 411-424. 

Defourny, J., & Nyssens, M. (2010). Conceptions of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1 (1), 32-53.

Dobele, L. (2013). Social Entrepreneurship Development Possibilities in Latvia. Latvia: University of Agriculture.

Dobele, L. (2011). Influencing factors of social entrepreneurship in Latvia. Research for Rural Development, 2, 101-107. 

Elmes, A.I. (2019). Health impacts of a WISE: a longitudinal study. Social Enterprise Journal, 15, 457-474.

Escribano, F.P., & Gonzalez, F.J.M. (2022). Creation of work integration social enterprises (WISEs) by social action organizations: Proposal of a model for decision-making. Voluntas. 

European Commission (2018). Up-date of the mapping of social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe. Country report Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Eversole, R., Barraket, J., & Luke, B. (2013). Social enterprises in rural community development. Community Development Journal, 49, 245-261.

Farmer, J., Kamstra, P., Brennan-Horley, C., De Cotta, T., Roy, M., Barraket, J., Munoz, S.-A., & Kilpatrick, S. (2020). Using micro-geography to understand the realisation of wellbeing: A qualitative GIS study of three social enterprises. Health and Place, 62, 1-11.

Gay, H.M.A. (2004). Social integration and employees with disability: their view. Disability Studies Quarterly, 24 (1). Retrieved from:

Ginis, K., A., Jetha, A., & Gignac, M., A., M. (2023). Experiental aspects of employment and their relationship with work outcomes: A cross-sectional study using a novel measures of participation in workers with and without physical disabilities. Disability and Health Journal, 11, February. 

Gintere, D., & Licite-Kurbe, L. (2021). Social enterprise profile in the Latvia regions. Economic Science for Rural Development Conference Proceedings, 11 – 14 May, 296-303.

Heo, J-E., & Xiaohui, L. (2019). A Study on the factors influencing graduates’ employment. Asian-pacific Journal of Convergent Research Interchange, 5 (3), 81-89.  

Ho, A.P., & Chan, K. (2010). The social impact of work-integration social enterprise in Hong Kong. International Social Work, 53 (1), 33-45. 

Keating, B., W., Keramat, S., A., Waller, I., & Hashmi, R. (2022). Job satisfaction dynamics: how do they impact employment mode choice for people with a disability? Heliyon, 8 (10), e11076.

Knardahl, S., Johannessen, A.A., Sterud, T., Harma, M., Rugulies, R., Seitsamo, J., & Borg, V. (2017). The contribution from psychological, social, and organizational work factors to risk of disability retirement: a systematic review with meta-analyses. BMC Public Health, 17 (176).

Kosow, H., & Gassner, R. (2008). Methods of future and scenario analysis. Overview, assessment and selection criteria. German Development Institute. 83

Leslie, D., Rantisi, N., & Black, S. (2023). Realizing the social mandate of work-integration social enterprises through an anti-racist feminist praxis and spatiality? Geoforum, 138, January.

Mason, C., Barraket, J., Friel, S., O’Rourke, K., & Stenta, C.-P. (2015). Social innovation for the promotion of health equity. Health Promotion International, 30, ii116-ii125.

Martin, R.L., & Osberg, S. (2007). Social entrepreneurship: the case for definition. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring, 27-39.

May, D.R., Gilson, L., & Harter, L.M. (2004). The psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety and availability and the engagement of the human spirit at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 11-37.

Morina, A., & Biagiotti, G. (2022). Inclusion at university, transition to employment and employability of graduates with disabilities: A systematic review. International Journal of Educational Development, 93.

Munoz, S.-A., Farmer, J., Winterton, R., & Barraket, J. (2015). The social enterprise as a space of well-being: an exploratory case study. Social Enterprise Journal, 11, 281-302.

Musinguzi, P., Baker, D., & Villano, R., A. (2023). Interrelationships amongst critical success factors and rural social enterprises’ performance in a developing country context. Journal of Rural Studies, 100, 102995. 

Ne’eman, A., & Maestas, N. (2023). How has Covid-19 impacted disability employment? Disability and Health Journal, 16, 101429. 

Olmedo, L., van Twuijver, M., & O’Shaughnessy, M. (2021). Rural as context for innovative responses to social challenges – the role of rural social enterprises. Journal of Rural Studies. 99,   272-283. 

Rodriguez, P., Izuzquiza, D., & Cabrera, A. (2021). Inclusive education at a Spanish University: the voice of students with intellectual disability. Disability & Society, 36 (3), 376-398.

Roy, M.J., Donaldson, C., Baker, R., & Kerr, S. (2014). The potential of social enterprise to enhance health and well-being: a model and systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 123,182-193.

Saaty, R.W. (1987). The analytic hierarchy process – what is it and how it is used. Mathematical Modelling, 9 (3-5), 161-176. 

Shields, M., Spittal, M., J., Dimov, S., Kavanagh, A., King, T., L. (2022). Employment and disability among young Australians and associations with psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. SSM-Population health, 19, 101140. 

Spear, R., & Bidet, E. (2005). Social enterprise for work integration in 12 European countries: a descriptive analysis. Annals of Public Cooperative Economics, 76, 195-231.

Spear, R., & Bidet, E. (2010). The role of social enterprise in European labour markets. working paper, 03/10, European Research Network, 46.

Teasdale, S. (2010). How can social enterprise address disadvantage? Evidence from an inner city community. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 22, 89-107.

Teasdale, S. (2012). What’s in a name? Making sense of social enterprise discourses. Public Policy and Administration, 27 (2), 99-119. 

Vidal, I. (2005). Social enterprise and social inclusion: social enterprises in the sphere of work integration. International Journal of Public Administration, 28, 807-825.

Westall, A. (2007). Social Enterprise Futures. UK: The Smith Institute.

Wrzesniewski, A., Dutton, J.E., & Debebe, G. (2003). Interpersonal sensemaking and the meaning of work. Research in Organizational Behavior, 25, 93-135.

Original Scientific Paper