A Spectrum of open social innovation within social enterprise

Lauren Tuckerman*, Julie Roberts, Geoff Whittam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of ‘open social innovation’ (OSI) has not yet been fully understood, particularly in relation to social enterprises (SEs). This paper explores the use of OSI as a means of achieving social change through two in-depth, longitudinal, qualitative case studies with Scottish SEs. The researcher undertook participant observation for a year as well as conducting interviews and reviewing documents of the case study organizations. We build on Wikhamn (2013) by conceptualizing two approaches to OSI: ‘controlled’ which is closely connected to market-based attitudes, and ‘libre’ which is connected to the knowledge commons. Each approach has ramifications for how SEs achieve social change: either through exploitation of intellectual property as a means of income generation or freely revealing to accelerate social impact. The ways in which SEs manage OSI could thus determine the impact they can have on tackling some of society’s most challenging social problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2022


  • open innovation
  • social innovation
  • open social innovation
  • social enterprise
  • Open innovation
  • Open social innovation
  • Social enterprise
  • Social innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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