Going It Alone Won’t Work! The Relational Imperative for Social Innovation in Social Enterprises

Wendy Phillips, Elizabeth A. Alexander, Hazel Sung-yan Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


However, the question of how social enterprises manage the process of social innovation remains largely unexplored. Based on insights from both in-depth interviews and a quantitative empirical study of social enterprises, this research examines the role of stakeholder relationships in supporting the process of social innovation within social enterprises. We find that social enterprises are adept at working with their stakeholders in the ideation stage of social innovation. In contrast, they often fail to harness knowledge and expertise from their partners during the social innovation implementation phase. Consequently, we propose a social innovation–stakeholder relationship matrix that provides social enterprises in particular with insight for developing stakeholder relationships to achieve their social innovation missions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jun 2017


  • Empirical
  • Social enterprises
  • Social innovation
  • Stakeholder relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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