Social innovation has gained a central place in research, public policy, and for the economy (in organizations).
On the research front: Several social innovation research centers have been created recently in North and Latin America and Europe, based on different intellectual traditions/ disciplines, as well as research methods (from more participatory to more classical research methods).
On the public policy front: several governments have elaborated and funded social innovation policies including the European Union, the Government of Quebec, Canada among others.
On the economic front: in the context of post-industrial societies and economies, social innovation is recognized as a source of value creation for society, territories, organizations as well as a novel way to address complex challenges for which classical economic paradigms are not best suited.
Yet not only is the social innovation topic timely, the challenges of managing social enterprises (where lots of social innovation take place) and their inherent paradoxes also appear of particular relevance. More specifically, we observe two blooming communities of scholars, which we aim to bring together through this special issue.
The first one is interested in the management of organizational tensions and paradoxes. This community is highly dynamic, and fast growing. As case in point, the all-time record for submissions generated for a special issue of Organization Studies was recently set by a special issue on the paradox topic. Institutionally speaking, 2015 was also marked by approval, by the EGOS board, of a dedicated “standing-working group” status for the paradox subtheme. The paradox community covers a wide range of paradoxes: exploration-exploitation, control-autonomy, continuity-change, just to name a few. Our proposed special issue would generate new insights on some paradoxes that have more recently gained interest - the tensions between social and financial goals - and on others that have, to our knowledge, not yet been explored in the paradox literature, such as the paradoxes between innovation and institutionalization, common to social innovation processes of diffusion, through scaling up projects.
The second community is composed of researchers interested in social enterprises, whether these are individual or collective initiatives, hybrids and other pluralistic organizations that foster social innovation. While the social enterprise management literature often refers to the social-purpose business US model, in Europe and Quebec, traditionally, the focus has been on social and solidarity organizations (co-operatives, nonprofits).
This special issue of Management Decision
By adopting an explicitly open conception of the organizational forms in/for which social innovation can emerge, this special issue aims to encourage comparisons and dialogue between communities of researchers on social enterprises, largely defined. It will focus more particularly on the challenges of organizing (for) social innovation in social enterprises with the following three guiding questions:
Organizing/organizations and social innovation: What are the forms, processes and impacts of organizing (for) social innovation in social enterprises? What forms of organizing are more prone to generating social innovation? How do social enterprises (largely defined) organize and shape the dynamics between social innovation and social transformation?
Social innovation in/between sectors, and for social transformation: To what extent does social innovation in social enterprises differ in its antecedents, processes, and outcomes from social innovation that emerges in other sectors (traditional for-profit, government) in which it emerges? What are the potential and limitations of social innovation through inter-sectoral collaboration involving social enterprises?
Social innovation and tensions: What are the concrete tensions experienced in organizing (for) social innovation in social enterprises? How are they managed? Does their management differ according to the type of social enterprise studied (e.g. BCorps, co-operatives, nonprofits, hybrids and cross-sector collaborations, etc.)
How is the innovation-institutionalization tension experienced and dealt with, as local, grassroots projects are being scaled up and social franchises developed? And finally, does social innovation generate tensions, or is this the other way around, in social enterprises?
Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system here:
Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at:
Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.
Submission Deadline: 31 January 2017
Expected publication date: Early 2018