In Research


Year: 2020
Published in: Journal of Cleaner Production:
Cited as: Sengupta, S., A. Sahay and R. D. Hisrich (2020). “The social – market convergence in a renewable energy social enterprise.” Journal of Cleaner Production: 122516.


The paper examines how the market and social logics which are supposedly counter to each other, converge into one rather than being two distinctive sets of actions, in the actions of a renewable energy social enterprise in an emerging economy context. To provide a foundation, the research draws upon literature on renewable energy, social entrepreneurship, market orientation, and social value creation. A qualitative in-depth case study research design with inductive theory-building approach for grounded theory development was conducted with two socially and environmentally inclusive renewable energy social enterprises in rural India. This resulted in a novel framework on a converging process comprising of: (a) Involved Searching, (b) Dialogic Localizing, and (c) Engaged Implementing. First, there is ‘involved searching’, where insights are generated through involved interactions for searching problematized contextual realities. Then, there is ‘dialogic localizing’, where insights are shared and acted upon through dialogically inclusive and localized solving. Finally, there is ‘engaged implementing’, where solutions are implemented through honest convincing and engaging mutuality. The findings make a novel contribution towards: (a) Going beyond the duality perspective and revealing social entrepreneurship as a phenomenon where the social and the market converge as an articulated whole, (b) Advancing hybrid organizing as a converging action with trappings of social value creation and market orientation, and (c) Revealing the potential of renewable energy social enterprises in blending the social and the market while working towards a sustainable environment.


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Future Research

1. This research can be replicated in the context of social enterprises with circular economy solutions, to examine how the convergence of the ‘social’ and the ‘market’ as a single development logic is enacted in socially inclusive circular economy entrepreneurial practices. Using the same method and approach to examine the social-market overlapping process, a comparative crosscountry multi case study between developed and developing countries.

2. Future research must combine agency theory, actor-network theory, green economy, and ecosystem research to explore how different change agents and ecosystem actor networks combine a social-market convergence with technocratic-economic initiatives for accelerating a socially inclusive green growth. This will open up new frontiers connecting social science and environmental science research for findings ways to create a more resilient and cleaner future.