Show Less
You do not have access to this content

Theories of Social Innovation

Danielle Logue

As we grapple with how to respond to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as inequality, poverty and climate change, there is growing global interest in ‘social innovation’ as a potential solution. But what exactly is ‘social innovation’? This book describes three ways to theorise social innovation when seeking to manage and organize for both social and economic progress.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 6: Social innovation: tensions in purpose and practice

Danielle Logue


In this concluding chapter, I examine three core tensions that are dominant in practitioner and policy discourse regarding social innovation: (1) managing hybridity; (2) measuring impact; and (3) governing collaborations. In contrast to earlier chapters that outline ways of theorizing social innovation, in this chapter I take a reverse approach and consider three empirical and practitioner areas of tension associated with social innovation and explore how to theorize to make both empirical and theoretical contributions. Managing hybridity is a central concern for the growing numbers of social enterprises globally, further complicated when traditional organizations (either private sector or not-for-profit sector) attempt to integrate social enterprises into existing structures. It raises issues of hybrid intensity, legitimacy and integration. Impact measurement is another global concern across sectors and organizations, and here I review social impact assessment and reporting, methods to compare social interventions and the emerging array of impact measurement tools. I suggest there is much opportunity in theorizing this central tension in social innovation by exploring the sociology of valuation and evaluation. In managing collaborations, I expand ideas of polycentric governance, inclusive innovation and public entrepreneurship, and also suggest conceptualizing ‘systems of social innovation’ to govern, coordinate and direct efforts towards specific social problems. After all, social innovation as a term itself emerged from practitioner literature. While some of these tensions are introduced in earlier chapters, here I examine each in detail, covering the empirical debates and suggestions for theorizing.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.