The purpose of this article is to identify, organize and analyze the international scientific production on social enterprises (SE). It presents the results of a bibliometric study combined with a systematic literature analysis. We analyzed 204 academic articles on the subject, from four different sources: (i) articles published in journals with high impact factors; (ii) most cited articles as per Google Scholar; (iii) articles addressing topics related to SE; and (iv) articles from the Social Enterprise Journal, specialized in the subject. Results point to remarkable recent growth in the field of SE, both theoretically and empirically. In addition, this study presents the main pieces of work, countries, institutions, research questions, methodology and results found in the SE literature. Studies have concentrated around six main categories: (1) understanding SE, through different approaches, concepts and models; (2) governance and relationships with stakeholders; (3) attempts to increase practical references and samples within the field; (4) organizational learning, structure and critical factors for success and failure of SE; (5) metrics, indicators and social impact generated by SE; and (6) legislation of different countries and how it relates to SE.
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