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Understanding how social responsibility drives social innovation: characteristics of radically innovative projects

Duygu Turker (Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey)
Y. Serkan Ozmen (Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, Turkey)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 10 February 2021

Issue publication date: 26 April 2022




This study aims to analyze how corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives address sustainability challenges by focusing on the congruence between process and outcome variables of CSR.


Following a theory-driven model, a content analysis was conducted on 63 award-winning social responsibility projects.


The study reveals that the adoption of a proactive approach during environmental assessment, which manifests itself in a focus on emerging sustainability challenges with a deeper interest, affects the centrality of social responsibility initiative by increasing its learning and partnership potential and leads organizations to produce radical innovations.

Practical implications

The findings provide a valuable understanding for practitioners on organizing the decision making process of CSR initiatives in order to unlock its learning potentials.

Social implications

Radically innovative projects with their higher levels of proactivity, centrality and generalizability are better than incremental ones at transferring and integrating company resources and capabilities to address emergent sustainability challenges.


The impact of CSR on society and nature has been a neglected area of literature. To reduce this gap, this study analyzes how the configuration of process variables shapes the outcomes of socially responsible initiatives on sustainability. It also provides a new typology on the relevance of CSR initiatives to company mission/model that can show how CSR can unlock organizational learning and innovation potentials.



Turker, D. and Ozmen, Y.S. (2022), "Understanding how social responsibility drives social innovation: characteristics of radically innovative projects", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 680-702.



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