Implementation of social innovations in subsistence marketplaces often fails as a result of not bringing about institutional change. In this article, we study the process through which social enterprises facilitate local communities in effecting the process of institutional change as they introduce social innovations. Analyzing rich ethnographic data from 19 social enterprises, we develop the process of “facilitated institutional work” for implementing social innovation. We present a process model for implementing social innovation with four distinct stages involving social enterprises—(1) legitimating themselves within local communities, (2) disrupting aspects of the local institutional environment, (3) helping re-envision institutional norms or practices, and (4) resourcing the institutional change process. The four stages relate to important concerns that local communities have in working with social enterprises implementing social innovations. These community-level concerns revolve around the following questions: (1) Why should we allow an external social enterprise to be involved in our affairs? (2) Why do we need to change? (3) What should we change and what should we sustain? and (4) What role should we play in implementing change (such as in mobilizing resources)? This article demonstrates that bringing about institutional change is often necessary for implementing social innovations in subsistence marketplaces. The findings depict a participatory approach in which social enterprises work with local communities to bring about the institutional conditions necessary for implementing social innovation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation