Dr. Aikaterini Argyrou, LLM, is assistant professor at Nyenrode Business Universiteit and a Postdoctoral Researcher affiliated to the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law of Utrecht University (UCWOSL). Since 2013 Dr. Aikaterini Argyrou, LLM undertakes multidisciplinary research on sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Her research focuses on the examination of normative frameworks that deliver substance to the concept of sustainability in entrepreneurship and company law from the perspective of social entrepreneurship. She examines supportive legal frameworks and tailor-made legal forms for sustainable social enterprises in European countries.

Her PhD dissertation is entitled: ‘Social enterprises in the EU: Law promoting stakeholder participation in social enterprises’. It comprises a comparative socio-legal study of three tailor-made legal forms in Greece, Belgium and the UK that promote social enterprises, and contribute to their legitimisation and recognition. The research is extended to the Netherlands, which does not provide for a special legal form for social enterprises. The first part of the dissertation includes a comparison of the tailor-made legal forms that structure a social enterprise in the three selected jurisdictions. The three legal forms entail: (i) the company type; (ii) the cooperative type; and (iii) the legal label. In the three jurisdictions, the legal forms adhere to a similar substantive core, i.e. they have similar key characteristics. One of them is stakeholder participation. All three examined legal forms commonly allow for the formal participation of stakeholders in the decision-making processes. In the second part, it is explored to what extent participatory governance structures prescribed in tailor-made laws stimulate the participation of stakeholders in decision-making in practice. One finding is that they contribute to the pursuit and scrutiny of the social enterprise’s social purpose. Three case studies per jurisdiction have been conducted to test the implementation of participatory governance structures in practice. The empirical evidence demonstrates that the formally prescribed participatory governance is not always fully implemented in practice. Instead, informal, direct but regular processes are more frequently developed in the governance of social enterprises.

Empirical research is also conducted by Dr. Aikaterini Argyrou, LLM in the Netherlands on social enterprises with environmental objectives which aim to the protection of the right to water, e.g. Dopper BV as well as on social enterprises with objectives which are affiliated to the protection of human rights e.g. Tony Chocolonely. She also participates in research in collaboration with Price Waterhouse Coopers NL and the platform Social Enterprises NL. In general, her research interests lie in the field of law and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, sustainability issues of company law, corporate social responsibility, business and human rights, gender and social entrepreneurship.

Other positions

Dr. Aikaterini Argyrou, LLM is also a qualified corporate attorney and a member of the Athens Lawyer’s Bar Association since 2012. Prior to her Ph.D studies, she was involved in many CSR research projects implemented by Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Utrecht University as well as by international institutes. Among others the development of a series of books regarding CSR in Indonesia in collaboration with various Indonesian universities, the establishment of the ‘ACCESS’ CSR conflict management center by the Hague Utilities for Global Organisations (HUGO) Initiative and the World Legal Forum, and finally the development of the Good Governance Index Project by the Hague Institute of the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL). In the past she was also a trainee legal counsel of the Greek Embassy in The Hague and a trainee attorney for two Greek-based legal firms.