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Social Enterprise Innovation In Context: Stakeholder Influence Through Contestation

Jamie Newth

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AbstractSocial enterprises are the products of the social, cultural, commercial, and political expectations of the innovation’s range of stakeholders, not solely the vision of the social entrepreneur(s). The power of stakeholders to influence the development of an innovation is drawn from their salience and the resources, access, and/or legitimacy that their support would provide. In this way, the actions of social entrepreneurs represent the interests of communities and it is through processes of resistance, negotiation, and collaboration that the actions of social enterprises become the manifestations of collective social processes. This paper draws on the development of a nascent social enterprise in New Zealand to demonstrate how the effects of its context ultimately shaped its innovative business model. Using an ethnographic methodology, the development of the business model and the partnership through which it formed was examined by the author as a central actor as it unfolded. The case study serves as an illustrative example of the ways in which differing expectations, beliefs, and logics of stakeholders induces particular decisions to be made about the design, resourcing, and strategy of the venture.