This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework and presents a number of propositions relating to why and how multinational companies (MNCs) engage in social innovations. The central focus is on the role of MNC knowledge, networks and power for their involvement in social innovations.
The authors combine literature on social innovations, business innovations and MNC literature, and present a number of propositions dealing with the link between MNC knowledge, networks and power-relations and their potential involvement in social innovations.
The authors emphasize that when social innovations are embraced by MNCs, the way that these corporations use their knowledge, networks and existing power-relations needs to be adapted to the new conditions present in the social innovation arena.
The main limitation of this work is that the propositions are based on anecdotal evidence and that they are restricted to literature revolving around a few theoretical concepts (knowledge, networks, power). Against this, the authors suggest that to address the call for more empirical work on MNCs engagement in social innovation, these concepts could be used as a starting point in future empirical investigations.
The paper brings together and outlines a theoretical framework based on three theoretical approaches to the MNC as suggested by the literature: the knowledge-based MNC, differentiated MNC and political MNC. Based on these three perspectives, the key contribution of this paper is to develop a broader understanding of why and how MNCs engage in social innovation and the potential underlying liabilities for this involvement.
Holmström Lind, C., Kang, O., Ljung, A. and Forsgren, M. (2018), "MNC involvement in social innovations: the issue of knowledge, networks and power", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 79-99. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-09-2017-0060Download as .RIS
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