Two birds with one stone: The quest for addressing both business goals and social needs with innovation

Marina Candi*, Monia Melia, Maria Colurcio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research examines whether and how firms can meet both business goals and social needs through their innovation activities. We examine antecedents and consequences of innovation that addresses social needs, in addition to business goals, using data collected from European for-profit firms. We find that innovation including social intent is more likely under conditions of high market turbulence, which represents an important form of demand-driven threats. Meanwhile, we find no relationship with competitive intensity, a form of pressure driven threats. Together, these findings suggest that customers and other stakeholders are more likely to drive firms to focus on the social dimension than competitors. The findings also indicate that innovation including social intent is positively related with customer acceptance, which supports the notion that innovation can meet both business goals and social needs. This relationship is partially mediated by perceived market turbulence, which highlights the importance of customers and their demands for social responsibility. This research advances both theory and practice as we add to existing discourses on innovation by providing a broader than common perspective that includes the social dimension as a potential part of innovation conducted to meet business goals. Furthermore, we shed light on how and when firms are likely to include intended social outcomes in their innovation (with resultant improvement in performance) and when they are less likely to do so, which highlights a potential untapped opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Early online date26 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • customer acceptance
  • external threats
  • innovation including social intent

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