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Social innovation drivers in social enterprises: systematic review

Iraci de Souza João-Roland (Institute of Science and Technology - ICT, Federal University of São Paulo - UNIFESP, São José dos Campos, Brazil) (University of Westminster, London, UK)
Maria L. Granados (School of Management and Marketing, University of Westminster, London, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 20 August 2020




Identify the drivers of social innovation (SI) that bring together the main management tools and approaches associated with the creation of SI in social enterprises (SEs).


A systematic review was developed in the Web of Science, Scopus and EBSCO databases, using the keywords: social innovation, social enterprise and management. After analysis of quality and application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 54 articles were selected for full analysis.


SI process was systemised into four steps: mapping and development, consolidation, scaling up and evaluation. The drivers of SI were mapped and classified into three main factors: contextual, organisational and managerial.

Practical implications

In organisational factors, business model was emphasised, as well as partnerships, participatory culture and intrapreneurship, adequate levels of bricolage and continuous learning. The management factors included the characteristics of the entrepreneur/innovator and managerial practices, where those that facilitate teamwork and the participation of all involved are best suited. In contextual factors, the highlight was the need for support from policy makers; community participation and demand for innovations that consider local context and usability.


This study connects previously scattered knowledge in a generic model of SI, highlighting routines and processes used, and provides a starting point for innovators and social entrepreneurs in the complex, uncertain and often unknown process of SI. Additionally, several research gaps were identified to be addressed by future research in the context of SI management.



João-Roland, I.d.S. and Granados, M.L. (2020), "Social innovation drivers in social enterprises: systematic review", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 775-795.



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