In Research


Year: 2018
Published in: VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Cited as: Monroe-White, T., Zook, S. Social Enterprise Innovation: A Quantitative Analysis of Global Patterns. Voluntas 29, 496–510 (2018)


Social enterprise and innovation are inextricably linked in the literature (Chell et al. in Entrepr Reg Dev 22(6):485–493, 2010; Dees in Harv Bus Rev 76:54, 1998; Light in Stanf Soc Innov Rev 4(3):47–51, 2006). To date, research on social enterprise innovation has predominantly focused on micro-level factors, such as the social entrepreneur or organizational attributes. Inversely, recent empirical advances on social enterprise find a country’s social enterprise sector is influenced by macro-institutional factors, including form of government, stage of economic development, culture and model of civil society (Monroe-White and Coskun, in: Shaping social enterprise: understanding institutional context and influence, Emerald Publishing Limited, London, pp 27–48, 2017). Given the link between social enterprise and innovation, recent empirical findings around social enterprise beg the question, do macro-institutional factors similarly predict innovation by social enterprises? This paper uses a hierarchical linear model to examine the influence of national-level variables on social enterprise innovation. Results indicate that similar to social enterprise, macro-institutional factors predict social enterprise innovation. More specifically, macro-institutional factors influence the various types of innovations (product, process and marketing) differently. Moreover, country-level innovation is traditionally defined by economic factors, such as R&D funding and STEM workforce, however, these factors do not help explain social enterprise innovation. Given the social aspects of social enterprise innovation, to capture the full scope of innovation within countries, expanded definitions of national-level innovation should be considered.


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