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The effect of enabling factors on social innovation in Russian non-profit organisations

Irina Krasnopolskaya (Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, Russian Federation)
Lucas Meijs (Department of Business-Society Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 7 May 2019

Issue publication date: 28 May 2019




This paper explores the factors that are associated with a capacity of non-profits to develop social innovations (SIs). The purpose of this paper is to examine factors in the Russian national context with weak non-profit sector with an ambiguous governmental policy toward the sector.


The study is based on survey data (n=850 NPOs, 2015, Russia). The paper analyses the likelihood of a non-profit to introduce SIs due to external framework and organizational factors. Regression analysis was applied in the study. The study is based on a new sampling approach and examines non-profits as producers of SIs, but not cases of SIs per se.


The results demonstrate that the capacity of an NPO to develop SIs is explained by the following enabling factors: cross-boundary collaborative relations, volunteer involvement and diversity of the revenue structure. Composition of innovative sub-sector, opportunities and chances of getting into this group are explicitly determined and regulated by the current governmental policy toward the sector. That is that large and established non-profits are more likely to be innovative in Russia, unlike expected grass-roots.


The paper applies a theoretical framework to analyze the SI concept in a non-western context with weak civil society and an influential government. From this perspective, the results present empirical quantitative verification of the determinants of SI capacity of NPOs. The paper is among the first to apply a reverse sampling principle and examine SIs via NPOs as producers. The paper produced, for the first time, an empirical description of the nature of innovative activity by NPOs and an estimation of the extent of this activity in Russia.



Support from the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics is gratefully acknowledged.


Krasnopolskaya, I. and Meijs, L. (2019), "The effect of enabling factors on social innovation in Russian non-profit organisations", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 5/6, pp. 447-463.



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