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Two Birds with One Stone: The Quest for Addressing Both Business Goals and Social Needs with Innovation

  • Marina Candi
  • Monia Melia
  • Maria Colurcio
Original Paper

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.

Keywords

Innovation including social intent External threats Customer acceptance 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Part of the funding for this work has been provided from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 324448.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

Data were collected from managers of European firms. The survey instrument consisted solely of questions about the firms with no data collected about the individuals responding. Therefore, this study does not fall under the category of studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research on Innovation and EntrepreneurshipReykjavik UniversityReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.University of Catanzaro “Magna Graecia”CatanzaroItaly

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