Legitimacy and innovation in social enterprises

Bunduchi, R., Smart, A. , Crisan-Mitra, C. and Cooper, S. (2023) Legitimacy and innovation in social enterprises. International Small Business Journal, 41(4), pp. 371-400. (doi: 10.1177/02662426221102860)

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This article examines the interrelationship between legitimacy building efforts – the different ways in which social enterprises (SEs) conform to stakeholder expectations – and types of innovation – the different approaches by which they create social and economic value through product, process and business model innovation. Using a multi-case study research design of twenty SEs in Scotland and Romania, we find that the SEs adjusted their approach to legitimacy building depending upon the types of innovation and stakeholder involved. Also, while all SEs pursued pragmatic and moral legitimacy through conforming with their stakeholders’ expectations, the type of innovation shaped the way in which they prioritised one form of legitimacy over another to deal with the tensions involved in pursuing legitimacy with heterogeneous stakeholders. This finding underscores the importance of innovation type when explaining how SEs balance the tensions involved in trying to conform to a wide range of heterogeneous stakeholders with different expectations.

Item Type:Articles (Other)
Keywords:legitimacy, social enterprise, social innovation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smart, Dr Alison
Authors: Bunduchi, R., Smart, A., Crisan-Mitra, C., and Cooper, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Small Business Journal
ISSN (Online):1741-2870
Published Online:07 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2022
First Published:First published in International Small Business Journal 41(4):371-400
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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