The Emergence of Social Innovation in Social Enterprise: An Analytical Framework

Project Details


This research will address the lack of theoretical explanation for the emergence of social innovation in social enterprises by utilising the five criteria within the European Commission’s (2011) definition of social innovation to develop an analytic framework.

While both social innovations and social enterprises have emerged in response to some of society’s most challenging problems, social enterprise activities are not necessarily socially innovative and vice versa. To avoid confusing the two, this study considers social innovation as an independent entity formed by a range of influences.

This study will examine four social enterprise-led activities providing social care for older people that have been identified as social innovations by representatives from national Scottish institutions and/or practitioner networks. Older people’s social care is currently under pressure in Scotland as financial cuts and policy changes have reduced local authority financial support. This has created opportunities for social innovation by enabling some social enterprise-delivered initiatives to redesign their activities to make them more sustainable.

This research will trace the emergence of social innovations in social enterprise-led older people’s social care through interviews with staff responsible for their development and management, and contextualise these innovations through interviews with national stakeholders in the sector. The findings from these interviews will be combined with evidence from business documentation and other reports to build a narrative of the emergence of the socially innovative activities, their evolution, and the wider socioeconomic and policy contexts which influenced them. A refined analytic framework will then be produced as the project outcome.
Short titleThe Emergence of Social Innovation in Social Enterprise
Effective start/end date1/04/181/11/18


  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: £7,858.00


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