PurposeThis paper aims to contribute to the existing literature on social enterprises and business model innovation. Particularly, it sheds some light on those factors that turn a social innovation initiative into a success, both in terms of meeting social needs and achieving economic sustainability.Design/methodology/approachBy using a grounded theory approach, an inductive comparative case study is conducted. Two work integration social enterprises in the hospitality and tourism sector are selected. Both companies are located in Barcelona (Spain) under the same legal regulation and economic situation and initially run a manufacturing business. Due to the economic crisis they were forced to reinvent themselves to survive. Data were collected from different sources and coded using content analysis procedures.FindingsResults indicate that three factors, namely, value proposition, appropriate market research and stakeholder involvement, heavily contributed to firm’s success, corroborating previous studies. Furthermore, our study reveals that social need pressures and managerial trust on employees are additional factors that drive social business model innovation.Practical implicationsChanges in the demand, the rules governing the market or economic downturns are external drivers for demand-pull innovations. In such context, firms need to reformulate their business models if they wish to survive. Acknowledging the factors that help firms overcome these obstacles is of great interest for both academics and entrepreneurs.Originality/valueSocial innovation in business models is a topic still poorly defined in the literature, yet, its boundaries to other fields are still fuzzy. This paper aims to fulfill this gap by presenting the theoretical domain in which this topic fits in and evidencing those successful factors that should be considered when designing and implementing a business model innovation which may help other firms facing a similar process.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2016
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