What We Know and Don’t Know About Social Innovation: A Multi-Level Review and Research Agenda

Hietschold Nadine, Nadine; Voegtlin, Christian; Scherer, Andreas Georg; Gehman, Joel (August 2019). What We Know and Don’t Know About Social Innovation: A Multi-Level Review and Research Agenda In: Academy of Management Proceedings.

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Researchers and practitioners increasingly consider social innovation a market-based means to address social challenges. However, to fully harness the potential benefits of social innovation for society, we need to understand its drivers and value creation mechanisms. Specifically, we need to understand why individuals engage in social innovation (micro level), how they influence the social innovation process (meso level) and how this relates to social value creation (macro level). However, research is scattered across different fields so that links between levels of analysis remain unclear. We conducted a systematic literature review including 460 articles across different research fields to understand: (1) how key antecedents of individuals enable socially innovative behavior; (2) when and under what conditions socially innovative behavior leads to successful social innovations (connecting the micro and the meso level); (3) what key mechanisms of social innovation stimulate social value creation and social change (connecting the meso and macro level); and (4) what facilitating mechanisms enable individual innovators to address social challenges (connecting the micro and macro level). We develop an integrative model of the social innovation process, review the state of the art on social entrepreneurship and social innovation research, outline prevailing research gaps, formulate theoretical implications, and provide a future research agenda.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Business School > Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship > Low-end Innovation
Business School


Hietschold Nadine, Nadine0000-0002-5624-8860;
Voegtlin, Christian;
Scherer, Andreas Georg and
Gehman, Joel


H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)




Nadine Gurtner

Date Deposited:

03 Oct 2019 09:51

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2023 21:46



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