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We recognise some limitations of our study and resultant future research avenues. Firstly, we have explored one social innovation initiative and one rural location and, as such, our findings should be verified, or challenged, in future rural studies. Secondly, exploring a similar initiative in an urban area could build an understanding of what would happen to the social innovation without the rural contextual characteristics. An urban-rural comparative study would also help to understand which of the two contexts provides more fertile ground for successful social innovation processes.
Our findings indicate that the relational view proposed by Dyer and Singh (1998) can be extended beyond the original theory’s purely economic perspective. Complementing the insights provided by Emerson (2003) and Weber, Bauke, and Raibulet’s (2016) processual perspective of the relational view, our framework could serve as a starting point for further investigation and rethinking dependencies among relational determinants of value creation.
Future research could, for instance, attempt to validate our framework in a longitudinal, quantitative setting and analyze further boundary conditions that might inhibit social enterprises from advancing to higher-order stages of blended value co-creation.
2) To co-create blended value, social enterprises often expedite inter-organizational learning, while using a diverse range of stakeholders. However, the findings also indicate that relational assets are developed less frequently. Hence, future studies could venture deeper to scrutinize whether the discrepancy between the second and third stages is due to a temporal component in the model, in which investments in the design of anthropocentric extroverted or physical assets follow after spending some time developing the relationship, or whether it is a deliberate decision.
3) To co-create blended value, social enterprises often expedite inter-organizational learning,
4) Given that this study was conducted with German social enterprises only, we call for future research in different national contexts and institutional environments. While using a diverse range of stakeholders. However, the findings also indicate that relational assets are developed less frequently. Hence, future studies could venture deeper to scrutinize whether the discrepancy between the second and third stages is due to a temporal component in the model, in which investments in the design of anthropocentric extroverted or physical assets follow after spending some time developing the relationship, or whether it is a deliberate decision.
We would encourage further research on other types of rural social enterprises operating in different fields. Finally, the focus of this study has been on the rural social enterprises as one pivotal actor for fostering social innovation conducive to neo-endogenous rural development. Our findings confirm the contribution of rural social enterprise to this end; however, they also highlight that social enterprises represent but one of the key actors whose social innovative capacity can be unlocked through a collaborative framework of a diversity of actors and institutions. Future research might focus on exploring such collaborative frameworks for successful neo-endogenous rural development.
“1. Public sector actions aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship can have different effects on both types of entrepreneurship: social entrepreneurship and general entrepreneurship.
2. Policies aimed at promoting human capital, employment, and investment aid would favour more social entrepreneurship, whereas those that increase innovation and improve institutions and are aimed at reducing corruption and making the market freer and more effective would have a greater impact on general entrepreneurship.
3. Redistributive policies aimed at improving income distribution would have a similar impact on both types of entrepreneurship.”
“1. This study is subject to improvement by introducing more countries in the sample to compare the situation of countries with different structures.
2. Likewise, as statistical information improves, it would be convenient to introduce more variables within the factors considered, especially those with an environmental nature, with particular focus on the role of green innovations in the process. “
“1. The study recognizes that the survey should be extended to more innovation and entrepreneurial
sectors. Current entrepreneurial observations are mostly related to government-funded projects, with strong socially missioned innovation initiatives. Economic interests are less prioritized and concerned. As such, this study results cannot account for entrepreneurial contexts with strong tensions between social and economic interests.
2. Future research should explore new sampling strategies to assess and compare “self” theories in different contexts of entrepreneurial motivation.”